Below is a memo that I sent today to the Mayor and my colleagues on the Council that explains the procedures of a city ballot initiative as well as my proposed election resolution calling for a special election that I will introduce at the next Council Meeting on September 16th.
Some pro-life organizers have asked me to have the council avoid a city-wide election and call a special council meeting so that the City Council could decide the issue without going to the voters. I do not agree with this approach because the initiative began with the desired purpose of having the people decide by election. As a strong Pro-Lifer and advocate and supporter of the initiative to ban late-term abortions in Albuquerque, I believe that the cause will be better served with a vote of the people rather than a vote of 9 City Councilors. I also believe that avoiding a city election by having the Council decide the matter would disenfranchise the many thousands of people who signed the petition to put the issue before the people on a ballot. With that said, below is the memo I sent today to the Council and the Mayor that explains the special election resolution that I will introduce at the next regularly scheduled Council meeting.
TO: Mayor Richard J. Berry, City Councilors
FROM: Dan Lewis, City Council President
SUBJECT: Election Resolution Regarding the Pain Capable Unborn Child Ordinance
DATE: August 29, 2013
As you are aware, the Albuquerque City Clerk has confirmed that the minimum number of required signatures have been certified to require that the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Ordinance” be placed before the voters in the City of Albuquerque in a special election. The City Charter requires that, absent other action by the Council, “an election on the issues must be held within ninety days,” or in this case no later than November 25, 2013. Art. III § 3(a)(6).
State Law also requires that “[w]hen a special election is called or required by law, an election resolution shall be adopted by the governing body calling for the election.” NMSA 1978 § 3-8-35(A). This resolution must be ready for its first publication “between fifty and sixty days before the day of the election.” NMSA 1978 § 3-8-35(A).
Accordingly, on September 16th I will introduce an election resolution for immediate action as required by the Charter and State Law. Among other things, it will establish the date and type of election to send the question regarding the Pain Capable Unborn Child Ordinance to the voters. The election resolution will establish the date for the election as November 19th and the type of election as a “mail-in” election.
Given the rigid timeframes involved, September 16th is the last opportunity for the Council to fulfill its obligation of passing the election resolution without the need for a special council meeting. The City Clerk has previously indicated that, if necessary, any run-off election could be held on November 19th. However, the date of any runoff will not be final until the Council acts upon another election resolution at a later date. The runoff election can coincide with this special election if it is the will of the Council at that time.
In proposing this election resolution, neither I nor the City Council is expressing an opinion or making any judgments relating to the proposed initiative. The Council is simply following the City Charter and the state statutes relating to special elections.
Thank you Pastor Dan Lewis, we will keep you and the rest of the council and the Mayor in our prayers.