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New Mexico Telegram » Albuquerque Elections, Economy, Featured » A typo could doom the minimum wage increase in Albuquerque

A typo could doom the minimum wage increase in Albuquerque

It was a big sign of labor power — the labor-affiliated group Olé NewMexico collected the large amount of signatures needed to ask voters to approve a raise the minimum wage in Albuquerque.

The took a well-deserved victory lap after finishing the large undertaking. Just one problem — there was a typo in the petitions.

The typo makes it appear as if employers will be paying themselves instead of employees.

“Employers of tipped employees like waitresses and waiters be paid at least 45 percent of the minimum wage in cash wages from their employers,” the petitions say. Oops.

The problem is more than just a funny flub. The petitions were signed by more than 12,000 valid voters — and has put a place on the November ballot in jeopardy. The minimum wage proposal would have a better chance of passing on the November ballot, the thinking goes, because of increased turnout, especially among Democrats.

The Albuquerque city council did not vote on adding the proposal to the ballot, with supporters saying since it reached the amount of signatures needed, city law outlines that it must be put up for election within 90 days. It isn’t so simple, however. The Albuquerque Journal reported:

City Clerk Amy Bailey, however, said earlier this week that “state law requires that a governing body pass an election resolution in order for me to have any kind of election.”

Time is running out, if an election resolution is indeed required. County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver must certify the ballot on Tuesday of next week.

The other municipal ballot question will be whether to approve bonds to help pay for the Paseo del Norte/I-25 interchange.

KOB gamed out the possible changes solutions to the typo mistake:

Sanchez expects a district court judge will decide what to do. That could be to change the wording of the proposal and put in the special election for November. The judge could also decide that the community coalition would have to fix the wording of the petition and get another 12,000 signatures.

City Council President Trudy Jones said there could be another option, at least according to one attorney who is advising her. She said the original, incorrect proposal could be on the voting ballot in November.

“But it would also have to have on that same ballot the corrected resolution, which then makes a long, long, long piece of reading to do,” she said.

Either way, what looked like a nearly slam-dunk win for progressives is now looking a little bit more dicey — and schadenfreude among those on the right would be tremendous if organized labor could not get this proposal on the ballot after spending so much money gathering signatures for something as easily preventable as a word being wrong on the petitions.

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Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

Filed under: Albuquerque Elections, Economy, Featured

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