Frequently Asked Questions about the 2021 Regular Local Election

A summary of FAQs about the upcoming local election.

Are you thinking about running for office?

The 2021 Election Candidate Guide is available here.

In the meantime, please review the FAQs below for answers to frequently asked questions and refer to the 2021 Candidate Calendar. Please note that the information below is subject to change.

When is the November 2021 Election and what will be on the ballot?

The Regular Local Election will be on November 2, 2021, and the ballot will include candidates for Mayor and City Council Districts 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. The ballot may also contain other items. This election will be administered by the Bernalillo County Clerk, although public financing, campaign finance reporting, and the verification of nominating petitions for candidates will be administered by the Albuquerque City Clerk.

What are the general eligibility requirements to run for City Council?

New Mexico law outlines certain requirements for candidates to have their name printed on a ballot based upon the candidate’s voter registration information. In order to become a candidate, a person must be registered to vote in, and physically reside in, the district they seek to represent by August 4, 2021 (the date the proclamation calling a local election is filed in the office of the Secretary of State) (NMSA 1978 § 1-22-3(B), NMSA 1978 § 1-22-4(B)).

Any changes to voter registration must be effective on August 4, 2021. How a name appears on ballots can not be changed at the time of candidate filing.

Additionally, in order to appear on the ballot, the candidate must not have any outstanding campaign finance compliance issues or fines from the Board of Ethics.

Finally, a person who has been convicted of a felony shall not be permitted to hold an office of public trust unless the person has presented the governor with a certificate verifying the completion of the sentence and was granted a pardon or a certificate by the governor restoring the person's full rights of citizenship. (NMSA 1978 §31-13-1(E))

How many nominating petition signatures do I need in order to qualify for office?

Persons desiring to become candidates for Mayor shall, before being placed on the ballot, file with the County Clerk a petition containing signatures of three thousand (3,000) registered voters residing in the City of Albuquerque. Persons desiring to become candidates for City Councilor shall, before being placed on the ballot, file with the County Clerk a petition containing signatures of five hundred (500) registered voters residing in the district the person desires to represent. The City Clerk will verify each signature. Candidates are encouraged to submit petition signatures each Tuesday during the petition signature period, so that the City Clerk’s office can alert them to the number of valid signatures still required before the end of the petition signature period.

Is there a filing fee?

No.

When can I announce my candidacy?

This is a personal choice and the City Clerk’s Office has no regulations regarding announcements. The Clerk’s Office recognizes a candidate for office if they do one of the following: submit a declaration of intent to seek public financing; raise or spend over $1,000 and register with our campaign finance reporting system; or picked up petition forms from our office.

Due to the ongoing public health emergency, will there be additional methods for collecting qualifying contributions and petition signatures?

In 2019, the City Clerk’s Office introduced an online platform to collect qualifying contributions. For the 2021 election cycle, the City Clerk’s Office is working to rebuild this platform to allow electronic contributions so that candidates may again have additional methods to qualify for public financing. The City Clerk’s Office is looking into options for petition signatures and will provide updates prior to the petition gathering periods should additional methods for petition gathering become available.

When and where do I file to be a candidate?

For key filing dates and instructions, please refer to the 2021 Candidate Guide and the 2021 Candidate Calendar. The calendar also specifies where items must be filed.

I want to run for City Council in the November 2021 Election as a publicly financed candidate — what do I need to know?

Please view the 2021 Candidate Guide, the 2021 Regulations for the Election Code, the 2021 Regulations for the Open and Ethical Elections Code, and the Guidelines for Publicly Financed Candidates.

For key dates, please refer to the 2021 Candidate Calendar.

I want to run for City Council in the November 2021 Election as a privately financed candidate— what do I need to know?

Please view the 2021 Candidate Guide, the 2021 Regulations for the Election Code, and the Guidelines for Privately Financed Candidates.

For key dates, please refer to the 2021 Candidate Calendar.

I want to advocate for or against an issue or candidate during the November 2021 Election — what do I need to know?

Please view the 2021 Regulations for the Election Code and Information for Measure Finance Committees.

What is the campaign finance disclosure schedule?

2021 Regular Local Election Financial Reporting Calendar

Statement 1:

Monday, April 12, by 5:00pm

Statement 2:

Monday, May 10, by 5:00pm

Statement 3:

Monday, June 14, by 5:00pm

Statement 4:

Monday, July 12, by 5:00pm

Statement 5:

Monday, August 9, by 5:00pm

Statement 6:

Monday, September 13, by 5:00pm

Statement 7:

Monday, October 11, by 5:00pm

Statement 8:

Monday, October 18, by 5:00pm

Statement 9:

Monday, October 25, by 5:00pm

Daily Supplementals:

Friday, October 29, within 24 hours

(Reporting items over $500 threshold)

Statement 10:

Monday, November 1, by 5:00pm

Statement 11:

Thursday, December 2, by 5:00pm

Can I collect $5 Qualifying Contributions online?

The Office of the City Clerk is now offering candidates seeking public financing a website that will allow candidates to collect $5 qualifying contributions electronically. The website can be accessed at https://donations.cabq.gov. All candidates using the online contribution site must abide by the City Clerk’s 2021 Guidance for the website and any amendments thereto. Candidates may use other electronic or online methods to collect seed money.

What contribution limits apply to privately financed candidates?

Individual contributions are limited to $1,500 in total contributions (including in-kind contributions) from any one person (with the exception of the candidate himself or herself), for any one election.

What contribution limits apply to publicly financed candidates?

Publicly financed candidates for Mayor may accept seed money from March 1, 2021, to June 19, 2021, and candidates for City Council may accept seed money from April 25, 2021, to July 5, 2021, limited to $250 in total seed money contributions from any one person residing within Albuquerque (with the exception of the candidate himself or herself, who may contribute $2,500 in seed money), for any one election. The total seed money contributions a publicly financed candidate accepts cannot exceed 20% of the candidate’s spending limit (i.e. the amount of money distributed to the candidate from the Open and Ethical Election Fund). The aggregate limit for seed money contributions for publicly financed candidates in each City Council district for the regular local election in 2021 will be determined in early 2021:

Mayor:                 $

District 1:            $

District 3:            $

District 5:            $

District 7:            $

District 9:            $

Publicly financed candidates for Mayor may accept in-kind contributions from March 1, 2021 through election day (and, in the event of a runoff, through the runoff election), and candidates for City Council may accept in-kind contributions from April 25, 2021 through election day (and, in the event of a runoff, through the runoff election), limited to 5% of the annual salary for the office being sought in total contributions from any one person, for any one election. The total in-kind contributions a publicly financed candidate accepts cannot exceed 10% of the candidate’s spending limit and, in the event of a runoff, the spending limit for the runoff election. The individual in-kind contribution limit and the aggregate limit for in-kind contributions for publicly financed candidates in each City Council district and for Mayor for the regular local election in 2021 will be determined in early 2021:

Mayor:                $

District 1:            $

District 3:            $

District 5:            $

District 7:            $

District 9:            $

If I am a publicly financed candidate, do I get to keep the $5 qualifying contributions I collect?

No. All $5 qualifying contributions are deposited into the Open and Ethical Election Fund.

 

I heard that there have been changes to election laws — what are they, and when do they go into effect?

There have been changes to the state election laws, and the City’s Election Code, public financing, and administrative rules.

Local Election Act Changes

In 2018, the State passed a law called the Local Election Act (“LEA”). The LEA was then amended in 2019. This law made two main changes a candidate should be aware of: first, it changed the date of City Elections from October to November of odd-numbered years; second, the County Clerk now administers City elections, rather than the City Clerk.  The City Clerk still administers some parts of City elections — public financing, campaign finance reporting, and verifying nominating petitions. The City’s Election Code, Open and Ethical Elections Code, and Code of Ethics still apply to City elections, and questions about compliance, and complaints alleging election-related violations, still go to the City Clerk. The Local Election Act is in effect and will apply to the November 2021 Election. More information about the Local Election Act can be accessed here.

Albuquerque Election Code Changes

The City also passed reforms to the City’s Election Code. These changes are in effect and will apply to the November 2021 Election. These changes include:

  • Clarified or added definitions for the following terms: Candidate, In-Kind Donations, Expenditures, Contributions, Independent Expenditures, Coordinated Expenditures, and Reporting Individual;
  • To encourage compliance with election laws and discourage frivolous complaints, legal fees for advice on compliance with election rules and laws, and legal defense related to the campaign or election, are not subject to expenditure, contribution, or in-kind limits (but must be reported);
  • Streamlined campaign finance reporting schedule;
  • Candidates with outstanding campaign finance issues or unpaid fines will not have their names placed on the ballot;
  • Clarified the ban on contributions from city contractors;
  • Clarified campaign finance disclosure schedule for candidates who do not qualify for the ballot or do not file a declaration of candidacy; and
  • Provided authority for the City Clerk to issue rules and regulations for the Election Code.
  • The election cycle has been updated since 2019 and candidates should pay close attention to the candidate calendar and the City Charter.

The Albuquerque Election Code can be accessed here.

Administrative Rule Changes

The City Clerk has adopted administrative rules for both the City Election Code and the Open and Ethical Elections Code (“OEEC”). The rules are in effect and will apply to the November 2021 Election.