Voting and Elections

Special Election: Vacancy in the Office of United States Representative

Special Election:  Vacancy in the Office of United States Representative

When a vacancy occurs in the office of United States (US) Representative, a special election will be held to fill that vacancy. Under the New Mexico (NM) Constitution, Article 20, § 2, every public officer, unless removed, is deemed to hold their office until their successor qualifies. The effective date of a resignation will trigger the Secretary of State’s duty under the Election Code to announce the vacant office and call for a special election.

In the case of a US Representative who is nominated for a cabinet position, the President of the US must submit their written nomination to the US Senate; this will start the Senate’s procedure of Advise and Consent which is outlined in Article II of the US Constitution. The nominee would need to be confirmed by a simple majority of the United States Senate, and subsequently resign from their elected position. The Secretary of State (SOS) would need to receive a copy of the resignation, prior to issuing a proclamation calling for a special election. The proclamation would provide voters and prospective candidates with additional information about the election, including dates and statutory deadlines. Until such a time that a proclamation is issued, the SOS cannot provide detailed information. We can, however, provide a general timeline and basic information.


Timeline Overview:

  • An office becomes vacant (SOS receives letter of resignation from an elected official).
  • Within ten (10) days after a vacancy occurs:
    • The SOS shall issue a proclamation calling for an election to be held not less than seventy-seven (77), nor more than ninety-one (91) days after the date that the vacancy takes place.
    • The proclamation shall include:
      • The date that the election will be held; the purpose for the election being called; the date that declarations of candidacy (or a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate) must be filed; and the date that certificates of registration are due (in order to participate in the special election).
  • Upon the issuance of the proclamation:
    • Prescribed forms will be available for prospective candidates on the SOS website (i.e. Declaration of Candidacy/Declaration of Intent to Become a Write-In Candidate; petition templates for independent candidates; etc).
    • Each qualified political party may nominate a candidate to fill the vacancy, in the manner provided by the rules of that party.
    • Independent candidates may begin circulating nominating petitions.
  • Within five (5) days of the proclamation being issued, the SOS shall certify the proclamation to each county clerk with precincts located in the United States representative district in which the vacancy exists.
  • Fifty-six (56) days before the special election, Declarations of Candidacy, Declarations of Intent to Be A Write-In Candidate and Nominating Petitions (if required), must be filed with the proper filing officer (SOS).
    • Items required to qualify for this position must be filed in-person, no later than 5:00pm on this date, otherwise known as “Candidate Filing Day.” Items cannot be pre-filed or filed at a later time.
  • Forty-five (45) days before the special election, Military and overseas voters shall be mailed ballots, in accordance with the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.
  • Twenty-eight (28) days before the special election, county clerks will mail a ballot to voters who are eligible to participate in the election (i.e. voter resides within the Congressional District).
  • Between seventy-seven (77) and ninety-one (91) days after the vacancy occurs, the special election shall be held.

Special Election: US House of Representative

FAQs for Prospective Candidate

Disclaimer: Under the New Mexico Constitution, Article 20, § 2, every public officer, unless removed, is deemed to hold their office until their successor qualifies. The effective date of a resignation will trigger the Secretary of State’s duty under the Election Code to announce the vacant office and call for a special election.

  1. What are the minimum requirements to run for this office?
  2. The US Constitution requires that Members of the US House of Representatives be at least twenty-five (25) years old, have been a US citizen for at least seven (7) years, and live in the state they represent (not necessarily in the same district with a vacant seat). Prospective candidates must be registered to vote in the state of New Mexico, by the date that the proclamation calling for the election is issued.

  3. I want to run for this office as:
    • A member of the _________ party, what do I need to do?
      During a special election to fill a vacancy in the US House of Representatives, qualified political parties will nominate a candidate based on the party’s rules. Each political party’s nominee will file their declaration of candidacy with the SOS on the fifty-sixth (56) day before the election. The SOS will have ten (10) days to process and qualify nominees; a written notice will be provided regarding qualification status. Qualified candidates will appear on the ballot, in the order designated by the “New Mexico Election Alphabet.”
    • An independent candidate (no political affiliation), what do I need to do?
      Independent candidates will file their declaration of candidacy and nominating petitions (signed by eligible voters residing within the congressional district), with the SOS on the fifty-sixth (56) day before the election. The SOS will have ten (10) days to process and qualify nominees; a written notification will be provided regarding qualification status. Qualified candidates will appear on the ballot, in the order designated by the New Mexico Election Alphabet.”
    • A write-in candidate, what do I need to do?
      Write-in candidates will file their declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate with the SOS on the fifty-sixth day before the election. The SOS will have ten (10) days to process and qualify nominees; a written notification will be provided regarding qualification status. The names of write-in candidates will not appear on the ballot.

  4. How many petition signatures are required to run as an independent candidate?
    • If a vacancy were to occur, the number of signatures needed for an independent candidate would be based on the timing between the announcement of the vacancy, and the filing date to submit ones declaration of candidacy:
    • If there are less than sixty (60) days, pursuant to 1-8-51 (F)(1), “two-thirds of the number of voters otherwise required” to sign for independent candidates would be 3,322.
    • If there are fewer than thirty (30) days, pursuant to 1-8-51 (F)(2), “one-third of the number of voters otherwise required” to sign for independent candidates would be 1,661.

  5. How do I set up a campaign committee / file financial reports? Can I start fundraising now?
  6. Campaign reporting for this office is overseen by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The FEC website contains pertinent information: https://www.fec.gov/help-candidates-and-committees/.

  7. When and where do I file my declaration of candidacy / declaration of intent to run as a write-in candidate?
  8. The actual candidate filing date will be determined once there is an official vacancy (fifty-six (56) days after a vacancy occurs). All candidates will file with the SOS, between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm. Documents cannot be pre-filed or filed at a later time. Candidates may file using a designee; the designee will need to bring a signed copy of the “Affidavit of Designee for Filing” form when they file on behalf of a candidate.

  9. Do I have to live in/be registered to vote in the Congressional District in order to run in that district?
  10. The US Constitution requires that Members of the House of Representative live in the state they represent, but not necessarily the Congressional District with a vacancy.

  11. I didn’t receive my party’s nomination, can I run as an independent or write-in candidate?
  12. An independent candidate must not be affiliated with a qualified political party on or before the date of the issuance of the Special Election proclamation. Any candidate may be a write-in candidate if they otherwise comply with the election code in becoming a write-in candidate.


Special Election: US House of Representatives

FAQs for Voters

Disclaimer: Under the New Mexico Constitution, Article 20, § 2, every public officer, unless removed, is deemed to hold their office until their successor qualifies. The effective date of a resignation will trigger the Secretary of State’s duty under the Election Code to announce the vacant office and call for a special election.

  • Who is eligible to participate in this election?

Voters who are registered in the district where the vacancy occurs, are eligible to participate in this election. To review the status of your voter registration, go here: https://voterportal.servis.sos.state.nm.us/WhereToVote.aspx

  • When is the last day to register to vote to be eligible for this election?

The last day to register (or update an existing registration) ahead of the special election, will be twenty-eight (28) days prior. Qualified electors may also utilize the same-day voter registration provision to register (or update an existing registration) at their county clerk’s office, during regular hours and days of business, beginning on the twenty-eighth (28) day preceding the election, until the last regular business day the week prior to the date of the election.

  • Who’s running for this seat?

Until a vacancy occurs and the process to qualify candidates is complete, an official list of candidates is not available from this office.

  • Will there be polling places for this election?

Yes. Counties establish their polling locations by resolution. When a vacancy occurs, more information about polling locations in each county will be available (including options to vote early or on Election Day).

  • Will I be able to vote by Absentee ballot?

Yes. When a vacancy occurs, more information will be available regarding the absentee process. Requests can be made using the paper form, or the online absentee portal (which will be made available).

Upcoming Elections

Regular Local Elections: November 2, 2021

 

Quick Contact Information


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