AZTEC — Before the March 4 municipal elections can take place here, commissioners must first appoint a precinct board to run polls.
At a commission meeting on Tuesday, commissioners will have the chance to approve a list of precinct workers recommended by City Clerk Karla Sayer.
New Mexico state statutes say the precinct board will consist of three election judges, two election clerks and two alternates. Election judges and clerks may also serve as translators. Aztec has one poling place, the City Commission Meeting Room at City Hall, 201 W. Chaco.
Sayler's list of recommended precinct workers for the 2014 Regular Election Precinct Board are Mary Boatman, presiding judge; Angela Watkins, election judge/clerk; Frances Cooper, election judge/clerk; Anita Choate, election clerk; Beatrice Esquibel, election clerk and Spanish translator; Stephanie Sandoval, alternate; and Anita Lewis, alternate.
"We'll see if I am called to work the elections this time," said Mary Boatman, a longtime Aztec resident who has lived in her North Oliver Drive home across from the county courthouse for decades with her husband Richard. "If so, this will be my fourth turn."
Boatman, 82, said she considers the work a duty and privilege — and fun too.
"It's a lot of hours, from six in the morning till the polls close," she said. "If you're presiding judge, you oversee things, make sure that everything's set up and ready to go and everything's on the up and up. It's like being the mom on that day. I like to do it. I see it as my duty as a citizen and an American, to keep our city going. I get along good with people."
Boatman, who retired as administrative secretary at Good Samaritan Society Four Corners Village, believes elections are a fundamental way Americans keep democracy healthy and the country free. She laments that so few people vote.
"Getting people to work the polls is tough," she said. "It makes you wonder if they really know what a privilege it is to stand up for your country. Not 10 percent of them vote. You should represent your city. We've got to get younger people involved. I pulled my first vote in 1955 in Rio Arriba County, in Gobernador. I went to vote in a little bitty two-room school house and have voted ever since."
Boatman, a city booster, plans to accept the nod if commissioners approve her for judge duties on Tuesday.
"I'm an Okie, and came out here in '55 and I didn't like it. I thought that God had forgotten that he made this place, but I've learned to love it and now wouldn't trade it for anything," she said. "We have a bunch of loving, compassionate people in Aztec. (Election) day is long, but you visit and talk, have some coffee and manage to get some work done," Boatman joked. "It's a good thing. It's really not work, but it's a long day. You hope that whoever won and is elected does the very best he or she can."
The public is encouraged to attend commission meetings, which are held on the second and fourth Tuesdays each month at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 201 West Chaco St., Aztec.
For more information, call the city clerk at 505-334-7600 or go to aztecnm.gov.
James Fenton covers Aztec and Bloomfield for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4631 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @fentondt on Twitter.