It is time to vote in the the Sunland Park city elections. Early voting closes Friday (Feb. 26) and election day is officially March 1. 

The mayor and three council members will be elected for four-year terms and one council member is to be elected to a two-year term.

In many ways it has been a disappointing election period. Few candidates felt it was necessary to reply to a Santa Teresa News questionnaire about their positions. Only one mayoral candidate and three council candidates took the time put their thoughts on the issues facing Sunland Park in writing for voters to consider.

Otherwise, it was politics as usual in Sunland Park. A few signs, some door-to-door visits and hoping that name recognition would carry the day for the candidates.

Even the hoped-for candidate forums failed to materialize. Several were scheduled. Thus far, none has been held, although one is scheduled for Friday evening, long after early voting has closed, leaving only election day to be affected by anything that might be said then.

The issues in Sunland Park in this election are large and important as the city is at the crossroads of turning itself around.

The scandals of elections past continue to be remembered and one would think that the candidates would want to separate themselves from the past flaws in how elections have been held here.

It would have been a good time to discuss what lies ahead for Sunland Park.

But only the current mayor, a current council member and two newbies in the newly aligned  District Six took the time to put together their thoughts on the issues. You can find them on our candidate response page here.

The issues in Sunland Park include a move last year of some to seek disincorporation of the city, putting the city at great risk in serving the public safety and economic needs of its citizens. The changing nature of the city is also an issue as new subdivisions bring new prosperity to Sunland Park.

This council will set the tone for the future of the area and the fights that lie ahead. The issue of disincorporation probably won't go away. Public safety and economic growth remain. And trust in the people who serve in these positions will again surely be tested.

Yet the public must make decisions about who will be elected. If past results are any indication the turnout for this city election will be low and races could be decided by small margins. Thus it is important that all of those who care about the future of their city turn out and vote. 

When my wife and I voted Tuesday, I was early voter number 72. This is in a city of thousands.

It is time for the people of Sunland Park to step up and decide the future of the city. Tuesday is the last chance to make your thoughts known about where we are headed as a community.

If you are registered to vote, do your duty and make a choice, even if some of the candidates want you to do that in the dark.

Election Day 

* March 1 
* Any of 3 Voting Convenience Centers 
* Fire Station #2 (next to the Tyson plant on McNutt) 
* City Hall 
* Dona Ana Community College (Sunland Park Branch)

According to the League of Women Voters of Las Cruces, the mayor is paid $25,000 per year and each council member is paid $8,400 per year.