ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Albuquerque will soon have its first special election in more than a decade.
A group that wants to change runoff rules for the Mayor and City Council elections collected enough signatures to require the special election now the question is how much it will cost the city.
These kinds of special elections are so rare that the city clerk's office doesn't have a budget for them.
So they're looking at an unexpected expense of more than $500,000.
"Right now I'm looking at all the options, weighing the cost versus communicating with the voters and making sure everybody who has the right to vote in this election has the opportunity," says City Clerk Amy Bailey.
The special election will ask voters to approve a measure that would require a runoff election if a candidate doesn't get 50 percent of the vote.
At issue: preventing like-minded candidates from splitting the vote, resulting in fringe candidate being elected.
"Majority rule is the bulwark of democracy and that's what we need to have," says Paul Broome, spokesperson for the various civic groups that collected signatures to require the special election. "We are not cavalier about this, we're not simply saying hey, there's going to be an election and we don't care about how much it costs."
Broome says supporters of the measure understand concerns about the costs.
"We also think democracy and having a good charter is worth some money, if we have to go that route," he says.
The special election will be held in March.
An in-person election could run $750,000, for things like equipment and staffing. Other options, like holding a mail-only vote, could save some cash.
Bailey is working with the city budget office to look at possible cost-cutting measures.
The last special election was in 200, when voters approved costs for renovating Isotopes Park.
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