Voter participation surged in Bloomfield this year
Turnout was almost 20 percent, more than doubling '14 showing
FARMINGTON — While voter turnout in other San Juan County municipalities remained similar or decreased from previous years, Bloomfield saw a large increase in the number of people voting in Tuesday's elections.
About 19.6 percent of registered Bloomfield voters cast a ballot during the election this year.
There were 3,796 registered voters in Bloomfield this year, and 738 of them showed up to vote in the election.
That was a sharp increase over the fewer than 500 voters who took part in the 2016 City Council election and the 278 voters who cast a ballot in the 2014 mayoral election. In 2014, those 278 voters represented 7 percent of Bloomfield’s 3,881 registered voters.
“I think that there was a lot of people who felt that there needed to be change,” said City Clerk Erikka Martinez, based on comments she said she heard from people who voted.
Cynthia Atencio won the mayoral election, and Kenneth Hare and Sue Ann Finch won the City Council elections. The three candidates ousted incumbent mayor Scott Eckstein and city councilors DeLaws Lindsay and Elwin Roark.
Martinez said the desire for change, combined with an aggressive door-to-door campaigning style this year, likely led to the high voter turnout.
“I’m very happy that people got out to vote,” Martinez said.
She said it can be frustrating when people complain but do not exercise their right to vote.
This year, Bloomfield more than doubled the number of votes cast in the last mayoral election in 2014, while Kirtland’s numbers were a little less than half the numbers from the last Town Council election in 2016.
About 7.4 percent — 28 — of the 374 registered voters in Kirtland cast ballots on Tuesday, according to Town Clerk Gwen Warner.
Warner described the voter turnout as extremely low. She said in 2016, there were 44 people who voted.
Larry Hathaway received 27 votes and Jason Heslop received 24 votes in their respective bids for another term on the Town Council. Both Hathaway and Heslop were incumbents and ran unopposed.
Farmington had 11.3 percent of its 25,594 registered voters cast a ballot this year. City Clerk Dianne Smylie said 2,895 people voted. She said during the mayoral election in 2014, 12 percent of the registered voters cast a ballot. There were 3,206 ballots cast and 26,826 registered voters in 2014.
Farmington had an unusually high number of people turn out to vote in the 2010 mayoral election. Smylie said 25 percent of the 22,000 registered voters in 2010 cast a ballot.
Smylie said 10.4 percent of the registered voters turned out to vote in the 2016 election for the District 1 and District 2 City Council seats.
Aztec had about 100 fewer voters cast ballots this year than the city had in 2016 when two of the City Commission seats were up for grabs, according to City Clerk Karla Sayler.
Sayler said there are 3,783 registered voters in Aztec. About 8.8 percent — 332 — of the registered voters cast a ballot this year.
While Aztec had fewer voters this year than in 2016, it had more voters than in 2014, when 6 percent — 255 — of the 4,173 registered voters cast a ballot.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.