In 2016 Voters Passed Bond B and the Bernalillo County Library Bond by Large Margins
By Joe Sabatini
Library bond issues were successful statewide in the 2016 New Mexico General Election. State General Obligation Bond B, providing $10 million for public, academic, public school and tribal libraries passed by an unofficial margin of 202,593 votes. With 445,042 yes votes and 242,449 no votes, Bond B won with 64.7% in favor, 1.8 percentage points higher than attained by library bond issue B in 2014. This progress was accomplished through higher margins in all but seven counties, with the greatest margin gains in Chaves, Curry, Dona Ana, Lea, Luna and Quay Counties. Only two counties, Catron and Union, rejected the measure. Taos County was once again the banner county for support at 76.8% yes, followed by McKinley at 73.0% and Guadalupe at 69.7%.
Bond B showed the third-highest level of support among the four state bond issues; the $15 million senior citizen facilities bond (A) received 68.5%, with library bond (B) at 64.7%. Bond C, providing $142 million for higher education facilities, passed with a 63.3% yes vote. A new category on the ballot is Bond D, providing $18 million for public safety, received a 66.1% yes vote. These are unofficial complete totals, which will be updated when the State Canvassing Board meets later this month.
In Bernalillo County, library bonds providing $1.8 million to the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Library System passed by a vote of 191,469 yes to 65,799 no, a 74.4% margin. This margin is less than the 2015 City of Albuquerque library bond margin of 77% and slightly above the 74.0% margin for the 2014 County library bond. Voters in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County have now passed fifty-seven consecutive library funding questions dating back to 1892, with an average margin of 68.8% favorable, and totaling $131 million in funding. The drop-off in support in Bernalillo County between the County Library Bond and State Bond B is 7.6%. The Bernalillo County library bond tied for third highest in voter support among the six bond issues proposed to county voters in 2016.
The library community was mobilized to support Bond B through the activities of the Bonds for Libraries Special Interest Group (SIG). Under the chairmanship of Omar Durant, the SIG promote the legislation, raised funds, prepared and distributed campaign materials and placed advertising. The SIG used a variety of media to promote passage of Bond B to both library allies and voters who may not use libraries. The SIG website, bondsforlibraires.org, provided promotional tools and campaign information. Olivia Baca updated the website. Kits were sent to academic, public and tribal libraries, containing bookmarks, window clings, posters and brochures. A display ad was also placed on the state’s leading political blog, “New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan.”. Bond B was endorsed by the Albuquerque Journal and other newspapers around the state. We especially appreciate the support of the Friends for the Library of The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Library.