SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A massive number of voters overwhelmingly rejected the controversial soda tax in Santa Fe.
Results are still coming in, but as of right now, about 57 percent have voted against and 43 percent in favor, with seven out of eight voting centers reporting.
As of 9:50 p.m., the Santa Fe City Clerk’s Office announced 7,859 votes in favor of the tax, while 10,514 voters are against it.
Whether you’re for or against, the long lines had people in Santa Fe waiting, in some cases for more than an hour to cast their vote.
Some even dressed up in “Muppet” outfits to help sway people to the polls. It’s all for the controversial two-cent per ounce tax on sugary drinks to help fund pre-k.
“I thought it would be perfect because I am a pre-k teacher and I work with pre-k kids, and I know this gets attention of people,” a Santa Fe resident explained.
Those against it came out in full force, too.
“I believe in education, but I don’t think that this is something that is the answer,” said Santa Fe resident Ron Noedel.
“I do have kids and I did actually put them both in pre-k, so I do know the benefits out of it, but I just don’t agree for this type of funding for it,” said Santa Fe resident Jennifer Wilson.
The money raised from the proposed tax would have gone to fund pre-kindergarten education for lower income kids. However, the controversy doesn’t end with how popular the tax is or isn’t with voters. Experts say it’s political.
“If it passes in Santa Fe, I guarantee mayoral candidates here in Albuquerque will be paying close attention to that. A lot of folks in the state legislature who might say, look, especially if it passes comfortably, ‘why don’t we think about this statewide or at least in the context of here across the city?'” said a political analyst and professor Gabe Sanchez.
The Santa Fe City Clerk says nearly 20,000 people voted in this special election, which may have set a record. Total turnout for the city’s last special election 2009 was 8,400.
This special election is costing the city of Santa Fe about $85,000. If the tax had passed, money from the tax would have gone to reimburse the city for the cost.