Candidates draw for spot on ballot

Christina Calloway

Candidates for the Portales City Council March 6 election are wondering if their luck of the draw will have any effect on how their constituents will vote.

Candidates drew numbers Friday at the city clerk’s office to determine where they would be placed on the ballot.

“Well you can do just about anything to determine where the candidates will be placed on the ballot but I prepared cards, folded them up, and had the candidates draw them from a sack,” said City Clerk Joan Martinez-Terry. “If there is a big pool of candidates, whoever is first and last have better chances but because each ward has a small pool, it may or may not make a difference.”

Ward D incumbent Keith Thomas believes even in this smaller election, ballot positions do make a difference.

“I feel blessed to draw number one,” Thomas said. “I think that being number one on the ballot does help and I just want to do the people’s work. I vote the way the people in my district want me to; I vote for what the people want.”

Thomas said being a city councilor is a huge responsibility that requires him to be paying attention constantly and talking to people. He said even though he is first on the ballot, to him the luck of the draw minuscule in comparison to how his connection with the community will affect votes.

“To me, if you’re not constantly willing to sit down and talk about things with people, you should re-evaluate whether you really have the time to do this, because to do it right, it takes time,” Thomas said. “I want input from everybody, those who don’t agree with me and those who do. I just think you need to respect everyone’s right to have their own opinion.”

Thomas isn’t the only incumbent to draw a top position. Ward B Councilor Gary Watkins is also number one but Watkins believes that with two people running, there is not much of an difference.

“In major elections, some people say that ballot placement has an effect,” Watkins said. “Of course I’d rather be on top if I had a preference, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference.”

Jeffrey Burmeister, candidate for the Ward D seat, is confident that being placed last will not make a difference because he believes his character will speak for him.

“People know who I am so they will look for my name on the ballot so it doesn’t matter where I am placed,” Burmeister said. “Name recognition and direct knowledge of my skills and abilities will speak for themselves.”

Donovan Finley, seeking the Ward A seat, says he’s being a good sport at being placed last on the ballot.

“Apparently being nice does not get you a good place in politics since I let another candidate go before me and he ended up picking number one,” Finley said jokingly. “It was fun and I was glad that I was a part of it. I’m just hoping that hard work and name recognition will work in my favor in the election.”