Due to the Belen Board of Education District I seat not being filled during the November 2023 regular local election, the Belen Consolidated School District Board of Education now has to appoint someone to fill the vacancy.
Orlando Santillanes ran as an unopposed write-in candidate for the seat, receiving 34 votes.
BCS administrative assistant to the superintendent Cyndy Shawver said she repeatedly reached out to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office since November to determine if there was a vacancy on the board. She was told the office would not inform the candidates or the district whether Santillanes would be seated, but rather certificates of election would be sent to the winning candidates.
Because he did not receive 100 votes, or 10 percent of the ballots cast in the race as required by state law, a certificate of election could not be issued to him by the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office and he was not elected to the seat, SOS public information officer Alex Curtas told the News-Bulletin. A total of 575 ballots were cast in District 1.
Since the SOS did not issue a certificate of election to Santillanes, District 1 is now vacant. The seat was previously held by Max Cordova, who did not run for reelection.
The district is asking interested voters living in District 1 to submit a letter of interest and proof of eligibility to hold the seat by Friday, Jan. 19.
To be eligible for consideration, a person must be a qualified New Mexico elector who resides in District I. A qualified elector is a resident of New Mexico who is qualified to vote.
The letter of interest and resume should be submitted along with a copy of a current voter information card. The voter information card will be used to confirm that the applicant is a qualified elector and resides within District 1.
If someone does not have a voter information card, they can go to the Valencia County Clerk’s office, 444 Luna Ave., Los Lunas, and obtain a certified copy of their voter registration application at no charge.
Send a letter of interest and proof of eligibility to the district by Friday, Jan. 19, either electronically to [email protected] or hand deliver the documents to Belen Consolidated Schools central office, c/o Aubrey Tucker, board president, at 520 N. Main St. in Belen.
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.