New Mexico spaceport tax vote still too close to call

The final outcome of Tuesday’s spaceport tax referendum in Donña Ana County, New Mexico, won’t be known until Thursday, although the tax had a narrow lead late Tuesday night after all official ballots were counted. In the simple yes/no vote, there were 204 more yes votes than no out of over 17,000 ballots cast, with all of the county’s 109 precincts reporting in. However, there are 541 provisional ballots—those cast by people who don’t show up on the list of registered voters, or who went to the wrong voting location, for example—that have yet to be counted. Those will be counted starting Thursday, and officials said it could take several days to review those ballots and add them to the count. The referendum was on a quarter-percent gross receipts tax, three-quarters of which would be used to help fund development of Spaceport America in southern New Mexico (the remaining quarter would be reserved to support educational programs). Spaceport backers, including New Mexico governor (and presidential candidate) Bill Richardson, said that the project would be in jeopardy if the tax wasn’t approved.

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