Mario has nearly 17 years of experience in navigating elections in New Mexico ranging from small local water districts, school board, local government, and statewide elections. Mario joined Common Cause in January of 2020. Prior to joining Common Cause as the Campaign Director, he served as the registered lobbyist for the NM County Clerk’s Affiliate where he represented all 33 of New Mexico’s county clerks.
During his nearly 17-year involvement in elections Mario served the state in various capacities. Ten of those years he served the residents of Doña Ana County, NM’s second largest county, while working in the county clerk’s office. During the majority of that time, he served as the Chief Deputy County Clerk where he was directly involved with the crafting, drafting, and implementation of election related legislation. He was twice successfully elected by fellow NM county clerks to the position of president of the County Clerk’s Affiliate where he spearheaded good government democracy legislation. One of his greatest successes while serving as president of the Clerk’s Affiliate was the passage of voting convenience centers where he also successfully implemented the procedures in his county. Today all New Mexico county clerks have shifted to the use of voting convenience centers where they have all seen the benefits of allowing voters to cast a ballot at any polling location in their county.
Mario is also a former member of the Voting Systems Certification Committee after receiving an appointment from the then Senate Pro Tempore. While serving as a VSCC appointee he successfully advocated for the state to implement the use of more efficient, voter friendly, technology advanced, and ADA compliant voting machines which are still in use today. In addition to advocating for the use of the improved voting machines, Mario was a certified voting machine technician where he had hands-on experience in programming, repairing, and training others on the use of the voting machines.
During Mario’s time with the county clerk’s office, he obtained his Public Official Certification from New Mexico State University through its County College program. Upon receiving his certification Mario worked with NMSU County College program officials where he helped develop curriculum and provided instruction to fellow county clerks and their staff as an instructor for the County College program.