My View

The Santa Fe New Mexican, May 19, 2024 

Salazar: Check the record before voting 
By Geraldine Salazar


In the interest of setting the record straight, as your candidate for Santa Fe County clerk, I am compelled to write this piece, with the hope that voters will read it before casting their votes in the upcoming primary election.

Improvements to the Santa Fe County election system to make voting easier began before Katharine E. Clark ever held public office. In 2014, new electronic voting machines and 2018 voting convenience centers were implemented throughout Santa Fe County along with the complementary change in 2006 legislation to require paper ballots. These were groundbreaking technological and modernization improvements that continue to make voting easier to this day. These changes were all reported in The Santa Fe New Mexican.

Absentee ballot drop-off boxes were added to the Santa Fe County voting system in the 2020 election after a legal challenge to the New Mexico secretary of state was won. That allowed the deployment of absentee ballot drop-off boxes statewide. Also, the ability for county clerks to produce faster vote results is because 2019 legislation permitted processing of absentee ballots before the final election day.

The Santa Fe County Clerk’s Office, in collaboration with the City Clerk’s Office, initiated and implemented ranked choice voting on March 6, 2018. In addition, same-day voter registration was initiated by the County Clerk’s Office in 2020 as sanctioned by the Legislature. All of this happened before Clark became county clerk. These initiatives were reported in The New Mexican.

The 2018 Regular Local Election Act, which includes “school board and other local elections” to streamline and increase voter participation in odd year elections was initiated and implemented in Santa Fe County in 2019. This initiative and implementation was reported in The New Mexican.

The massive public records digitizing and indexing project of thousands and thousands of public records began initially by Clerk Rebecca Bustamante, continued by Clerk Valerie Espinoza, and continued throughout my two terms as county clerk. In my estimation, the three previous county clerk administrations had completed more than 90% of this project. In my estimation, Clark only completed a few thousand public records of this project. She has claimed in different venues she digitized 99% of all public records. These claims were not true.

This can be verified by Professional Document Services and the county’s information technology department that had to work together to finalize this project for the clerk’s office. In addition, they should have purchase and work orders, and data migration history to verify the final completion of this project under her tenure. Also, credit card purchasing of county records was in the process of being implemented before Clark arrived on the scene. Also, her alleged “probate backlogs” are false. There was no backlog when Clark took office. Her backlog assertion is outright misinformation and probate Judge Cordelia Montoya can verify this.

Additionally, Clark’s statement that she initiated public access to computers in the office foyer is incorrect. Access to public computer terminals was implemented during the coronavirus pandemic and were in place and operating before Clark took office.

In my view, Clark is a good speaker and spins a number of false narratives. If one does not know the history of the clerk’s office operations, you would believe these false claims.

It is important for the people and the media to research the history of the candidate and the history of the Santa Fe County Clerk’s Office to know the truth and not allow a candidate to be elected who has single-handedly reduced access to the clerk’s office and alienated previous employees and other Santa Fe County employees.

Finally, I am appalled that she posted signage in every voting booth prominently displaying her name advising what to do if a voting mistake is made. As a candidate on the current ballot for county clerk, she should not display her name inside every voting booth. Clark is abusing her office and the public trust by using public resources to personally promote her name in this election.

The clerk’s job is a wide-ranging job that requires ethical public service and not unfair political election practices.

Geraldine Salazar is the former Santa Fe County clerk, 2013-20, running for reelection in the 2024 primary.

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April 10, 2024

I am committed to prioritizing customer service in the Santa Fe County Clerk’s Office.  My goals are to improve voter participation, to ensure that public records will be maintained accurately, and to guarantee fair, efficient and secure elections on secret ballots.  I will work with the staff of the Clerk’s Office to build on past success and continuously seek improvements that will benefit the public.  I will solicit community advice on the Clerk’s Office to identify areas for improvement.  Finally, I will actively monitor and participate in state and national professional organizations for county clerks to stay current with research, technology and innovations that may be useful to Santa Fe County.

I know the policies, functions and responsibilities of the Clerk’s Office.  I will preserve the public’s trust in local government, and I am prepared with my experience to lead and manage this office the first day on the job.

The Clerk’s profession requires integrity, accuracy and managerial competence.  Voters want experienced qualified candidates.  I have professional skills in management, budget, procurement, outreach, grant writing, training and public relations.  I will utilize my expertise to manage the Clerk’s Office, voter outreach and education programs to improve voter participation.

In speaking with voters, I have listened to the concerns of the public and how disgusted they are with politicians and their repeated abuse of power and public funds.  I promise to be accountable in order to maintain the public’s trust in government by always remembering that I serve the interest of the public and not my own personal interest.  I am a firm believer of government transparency and I practiced transparency on a daily basis when working as the Clerk’s Office Public Records & Information Request Liaison.  I will have an open door policy when serving the public to ensure public access and accountability.

I am a professional with a strong ethical character. I believe that the Clerk’s Office requires a leader with the highest standard of ethical behavior.  For me the public’s interest is paramount in the duties of this office and I understand the importance to work side-by-side with all county officials to guarantee that the office is managerially and financially sound and without risk of liabilities.

I am a trustworthy public employee: I am willing to serve both the public and Clerk’s staff with respect and professionalism.  I am a voice of reason with considerable knowledge and skills to be the next Santa Fe County Clerk.

When elected I intend to work with Clerk’s staff to evaluate the administrative functions of the Clerk’s Office to plan for the next four years.  I will not walk in to the Clerk’s Office with a “Grand Vision” or a personal agenda.  We will work together on a “Vision” for the office that is based on the needs of the community.  My years of experience and dedication to public service have taught me that a model of inclusion rather than exclusion is in the best interest of the public, the staff and local government.  I believe that any “Vision” requires teamwork and the expertise of the professionals that work in the office.

Voter outreach and education will include community forums to discuss the importance of voting in a free society with open discussion of the needs of the community regarding voter participation and record keeping.  I will continue the school education program that the Bureau of Elections provides to teach children how to vote and run an election.

Please vote to re-elect me for Santa Fe County Clerk once again: let’s win this election together! Vote Geraldine Salazar in the 2024 Primary for re-election during Early Voting from May, 7, 2024-June 1, 2024, or on Election Day, Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

Updated April 18, 2024

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Listen to a message from Geraldine Salazar


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