Spanning four counties and in charge of 1,200 miles of irrigation ditches, the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District Board of Directors is gearing up for the Oct. 3 election, with two of the seven positions on the ballot. 

There are three candidates vying for the Valencia County, Position 5, seat — Carol Benavidez of Tomé, Kirsten Couevas of Tomé and Brian Jiron, of the Pueblo of Isleta. 

The at-large candidate on the board, Position 1, can live in any of the counties the district encompasses — Sandoval, Bernalillo, Socorro or Valencia — but this year both are from Valencia County. 

Current Valencia County, Position 5 director Stephanie Russo Baca, of Los Chavez, is running for the at-large seat, as well as Jerome Cordova, of Jarales. 

At-large incumbent Barbara Baca, of Albuquerque, did not file to run for the seat again.

Absentee voting 

Absentee ballots can be requested starting Thursday, Aug. 24. Voters can go to the MRGCD website — — to download an absentee ballot application. 

Applications can also be picked up at the MRCGD main office in Albuquerque, 1931 Second St. SW,, any of the MRGCD division offices or any of the Bernalillo, Sandoval, Valencia or Socorro county clerk’s offices. 

The application for an absentee ballot must indicate the county in which the voter will cast their one vote, even if they are a qualified elector in more than one county within the MRGCD’s benefited area. Only one vote per qualified elector may be cast. 

The application must include the qualified elector’s name, street address and/or the alternate mailing address. The legal description is not required. 

The last day to mail out applications will be Saturday, Sept. 30. 

Completed applications should be returned by mail or delivered by hand to the following locations: 

  • Election director, Eli Lovato, Automated Election Services, 7000 Zenith Ct NE, Rio Rancho, N.M., 87144-6467
  • Election officer, DeAnna Philips, MRGCD General Office, 1931 Second St. SW, Albuquerque, N.M., 87102-4515
  • Cochiti Division Office, 31 Carro De Caballos, Pena Blanca, N.M., 87401
  • Belen Division Office, 25 General Edward Baca Road, Belen, N.M., 87002
  • Socorro Division Office, 2401 State Road One, Socorro, N.M., 87801

Do not leave completed applications with the county clerk’s office or at an early or Election Day voting location. 

Deadline to complete and return ballots is 7 p.m., Election Day, Tuesday, Oct. 3. 

For questions about absentee voting, contact Eli Lovato at 505-891-6530 or DeAnna Philips at 505-247-0235.

Early voting 

Early, in-person voting for the MRGCD elections will be 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, Sept. 18-29, and from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 30, at the following Valencia and Socorro count locations.  

Additional early voting locations sites in Sandoval and Bernalillo counties can be found on the district’s website. Qualified electors may cast a ballot at any early voting location. 

Valencia County 

  • Belen Public Library, 333 Becker Ave, Belen
  • Valencia County Clerk’s Office, 444 Luna Ave SE, Los Lunas

  Socorro County 

  • Socorro Electric Cooperative, 215 Manzanares Ave, Socorro

Election Day polling locations 

The following polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 3, in Valencia and Socorro counties.  

Additional polling locations in Sandoval and Bernalillo counties can be found on the district’s website. Qualified electors may cast a ballot at any voting location. 

Valencia County 

  • Belen Public Library, 333 Becker Ave., Belen
  • Valencia County Clerk’s Office, 444 Luna Ave. SE, Los Lunas
  • Logsdon Hall, 19676 N.M. 314, Los Chavez
  • Don Jose y Dolores Cordova Cultural Center, 426 Jarales Road, Jarales
  • Tomé/Adelino Fire Department Valley Station 2755 N.M. 47, Tomé
  • Peralta City Hall, 90-A Molina Road, Peralta

Socorro County 

  • Socorro Electric Cooperative, 215 Manzanares Ave., Socorro
  • Midway Fire Department, 13 Cambon Road, Lemitar
  • Northern Socorro Senior Center, 894 N.M. 304, Veguita

For more information, contact Election Director Eli Lovato with Automated Election Services at 505-891-0525. 

2023 MRGCD voting sites

2023 MRGCD Voting Sites

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Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.