Pages past, March 3: That time we debated ballot counting
Last updated 3/2/2021 at 4:35pm
On this date …
1951: Eastern New Mexico University was fighting for its life as a four-year college.
State Comptroller Richard Strahlem had proposed the university's budget be limited to $374,487. The 1950-51 fiscal year's appropriation had been $414,000 and University President Floyd Golden had requested $629,000 for the 1951-52 fiscal year.
Golden wanted the increase to raise faculty salaries by 25 percent and to hire additional instructors.
Strahlem's position was that only University of New Mexico and New Mexico A&M should operate as four-year colleges in the state.
Ultimately Gov. Edwin Mechem declared none of the state's existing four-year colleges should be reduced to two-year institutions.
“Many a high school graduate is getting a college education today who would not be able to get such an education if he had to go outside his own area for it,” Mechem told The Associated Press.
1961: Curry and Roosevelt counties had lost a “lively battle” in which the state Legislature required them to begin using voting machines.
The Portales News-Tribune reported representatives from Roosevelt and Curry counties told lawmakers they did not need machines to count votes and that they could not afford them.
“House Democratic and Republican leaders, in a rare act, teamed up against the Curry-Roosevelt county-block and defeated its attempt to exempt the counties from the act,” the newspaper reported.
All precincts in which 201 or more voters had cast ballots in the fall would be required to start using machines to count votes, the Legislature declared.
The state planned to provide each county with the money for the machines, but the counties would be required to repay the state within 20 years.
New business …
1961: Montgomery Ward announced plans to open a catalog store in Portales before month's end.
The new store would be located between Harris Firestone and J.C. Penney on the east side of the city square.
Cold start to March …
1971: Eastern New Mexico remained chilled after 2 inches of snow fell the previous day, resulting in 4- to 6-inch drifts.
Weather watchers said temperatures dropped to 5 degrees overnight before rebounding to a daytime high in the 30s.
Pages Past is compiled by David Stevens. Contact: