Voters Pass Bond B, Bernalillo and Sandoval County Library Bonds by Large Margins
By Joe Sabatini
Library bond issues were successful statewide in the 2018 New Mexico General Election. State General Obligation Bond B, providing $12.876 million for public, academic, public school and tribal libraries passed by an unofficial margin of 231,310 votes. With 424,619 yes votes and 193,309 no votes, Bond B won with 68.72% in favor, 3.9 percentage points higher than attained by library bond issue B in 2016. This progress was accomplished through higher margins in all but nine counties, with the greatest margin gains in Grant, Santa Fe, Mora, Harding, Quay and Bernalillo Counties. Only two counties, Catron and Union, rejected the measure. Taos County was once again the banner county for support at 81% yes, followed by Santa Fe at 77.3% and McKinley at 73.4%.
Bond B showed the second highest level of support among the four state bond issues; the $10.77 million senior citizen facilities Bond A received 70.8%, with library bond (B) at 68.7%. A new category on the ballot is Bond C, providing $6 million for school busses, which received a 68.8% yes vote. Bond D, providing $136 million for higher education facilities, passed with a 65.7% 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 $1.75 million to the Public Library Albuquerque and Bernalillo County passed by a vote of 160,977 yes to 56,294 no, a 74.1% margin. This margin is more than the 2017 City of Albuquerque library bond margin of 71.7% and slightly below the 74.4% margin for the 2016 County library bond. Voters in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County have now passed sixty-two consecutive library funding questions dating back to 1892, with an average margin of 69.0% favorable, and totaling $140.4 million in funding. The drop-off in support in Bernalillo County between the County Library Bond and State Bond B is 1.8%. The Bernalillo County library bond was fourth highest in voter support among the six bond issues proposed to county voters in 2018.
In Sandoval County, voters passed Bond Question 1 providing $3,385,000 to 15 public and tribal libraries by a vote of 35,220 in favor and 18,305 against, for an approval rate of 65.8%. The margin of victory increased by 6.3% over the 2014 Sandoval County Library Bond Issue, which had passed by a 59.5% margin. The county library bond also ranked highest for Sandoval County among the three county bond issues proposed in 2018.
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 promoted the legislation, raised funds, prepared campaign materials and placed advertising. The SIG website provided local library supporters with a variety of media to promote passage of Bond B. Linda O’Connell worked with Robyn Gleasner to replace the SIG website on a new platform; nmbondsforlibraires.org. Chris Schipper and the New Mexico Library Foundation created a webpage charting prospective bond allocations for every library by county. 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. The financial support of the Albuquerque Friends for the Library was especially appreciated.