Lower voter turnout expected for Albuquerque’s runoff election

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s back to the polls on November 14 for Albuquerque voters. Tim Keller and Dan Lewis are going head-to-head for mayor, but will as many voters turnout for the runoff election as they did last week?

The turnout on October 3 for the municipal election was 29 percent, but KRQE News 13’s political expert and UNM professor Gabe Sanchez speculates that number will drop with the runoff election.

As the results rolled in last Tuesday, it was clear the race for mayor wasn’t over for Keller or Lewis as neither could snag 50 percent of the vote. That means this election isn’t over yet for voters, either. That is, if they make the time and effort to go back to polls.

Sanchez weighed in on how many people might cast their ballots next month, either for the first time or, most likely, the second time.

“Remember a lot of voters, too, they’re going to say, ‘Wait a minute I already voted on mayor,’ and consequently not show up at the polls for a runoff,” Sanchez said.

He also says with the highly controversial sick leave ordinance rejected and done with, voters might not be as interested.

KRQE News 13 went to Nob Hill around lunchtime Thursday and asked about 25 people if they plan to vote in the runoff. Of that group, only two said yes. A handful were from out of town and the rest said no – either because they weren’t interested or didn’t want to vote for either candidate.

When the runoff takes place November 14, a boost in votes for Lewis could come from the fact that his council district is also going to a runoff. However at this point, based on the numbers from election night, Sanchez believes Keller will be Albuquerque’s next mayor.

“Anything could happen in this context. I wouldn’t count Lewis out, but he’s definitely working against a lot of tides moving in the opposite direction,” Sanchez said.

City Clerk Natalie Howard did not get back to us about her speculation for voter turnout in the runoff.

Early voting takes place October 25 to November 10. For more information on the election, including voting locations and times, click here.

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