Ambrose Castellano, a Democrat who is running for office in House District 70, has valid voter registration to run for office, according to San Miguel County Clerk Geraldine Gutierrez.

His residency was challenged in a Sept. 30 complaint to the Secretary of State’s office by Philip Casados, in which he alleged that Castellano lives in Pojoaque and should be ineligible to run for office in House District 70.

A candidate’s residency is based on their voter registration.

To register to vote in a certain area, state Election Code 1-1-7 says, “A. the residence of a person is that place in which his habitation is fixed, and to which, whenever he is absent, he has the intention to return; B. the place where a person’s family resides is presumed to be his place of residence, but a person who takes up or continues his abode with the intention of remaining at a place other than where his family resides is a resident where he abides; C. a change of residence is made only by the act of removal joined with the intent to remain in another place. There can be only one residence.”

According to voter registration records and the San Miguel County Clerk, Castellano is registered to vote with an address in Serafina, which is a part of District 70.

The complaint from Casados alleges that since it is “well known in the community” that Castellano lives in Pojoaque with his partner and child, his voter registration with a Serafina address is invalid.

According to voter registration records, Castellano also registered with a P.O. Box, and not a physical address.

Election Code 1-4-5.3 says, “if a qualified elector resides in an area lacking a specific physical address, the qualified elector shall be allowed to substitute a mailing address along with a description, such as a map or the latitude and longitude, indicating where the qualified elector resides.”

According to the declaration of candidacy submitted by Castellano, he sent a map of San Miguel County, with an arrow pointing to the Village of Bernal, where Serafina is.

The Secretary of State’s spokesperson Alex Curtas said the complaint was well past the deadline, and should have been filed with the county clerk in March, as the deadline to file such complaints is 10 days after the date of filing a declaration of candidacy.

“The date for filing declarations of candidacy for State House District 70 was March 10, 2020,” Curtas said.

Gutierrez said that to her knowledge, Castellano is a resident of Serafina, because that is what his voter registration says.

“The voters come in, and they register to vote,” she said. “They fill out a declaration of candidacy stating that their information is true and correct. I will take their word for it. I will check to see their nominating petitions and if they’re enough, that’s what I accept and that’s why I accept their declaration of candidacy.”

Felecia Pohl
Felecia Pohl