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No More Normal: The Disinformation Age

Contributed by artist Larry Schulte
"House In Turmoil" (2000)

The NoMoNo team was talking about ideas for our election coverage in early August: The potential for violence, attempts to subvert the vote and the importance of media literacy. It is not hyperbole to state that for most of us, this is the most important election we have ever taken a part in. That said, it is imperative that we are not only informed about our voting rights, but we ensure they are protected. That means becoming savvy about misinformation and disinformation and the ways that you and some people you may know are possibly being manipulated. 



VOICES BEHIND THE VOTE: Many first-time voters have a lot on their mind this election cycle. College students are coming of age in an unprecedented time with the COVID-19 pandemic, civil uprisings for racial justice and accelerating climate change. They're trying to figure it all out while keeping up with remote classes and assignments. As part of our Voices Behind the Vote series, UNM freshman Delaney Brigman spoke with KUNM’s Taylor Velazquez about why voting is important to her and what young people want from their politicians.

VOTER PROTECTIONS: The New York Times released an article on Wednesday, Oct. 21, that detailed findings from federal officials that say Iran and Russia have obtained voter registration data. The FBI says Iran used the information they got a hold of to send threatening , fake emails to potential voters—that’s misinformation.

Credit Larry Schulte
"Lost Language 22" (2012-2014)

And anew poll is showing that voters who aren’t White are concerned about violence, militias and police if they go to cast their ballot in-person.

We know that some of you have voted early, others have voted by mail. But anyone who is preparing to get in line on Nov. 3 (Election Day), know that your right to vote is protected by many laws, agencies, and officials. 

No one has the right to threaten you, harass you or intimidate you at the polls. Any election’s official who discriminates against an in-person voter faces a five-thousand-dollar fine or up to five years in prison. Anyone who conspires to deprive someone of their right to vote faces up to 10 years in prison. No one can confront you at the polls under the law, raise their voice with you, threaten you or insult you. Law enforcement isn’t allowed at the polls except to vote, or to maintain order if something gets out of hand. And people who aren’t police can’t go to the polls dressed like law enforcement, either, under the law. 

If anyone messes with you or if you are being treated unfairly,, there are steps that will be taken to handle that situation. First, call the voter protection hotline at 866 Our-Vote. They have people ready to talk to you in multiple languages. Common Cause New Mexico and the ACLU have created this hotline for you to report any interference and irregularities. That number again is 866-OUR-VOTE. Also call the Secretary of State’s Office at 800-477-3632. Your right to vote is and will be protected. Our democracy depends on it.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: The weather has been full of beautiful fall days, here in N.M. But one thing we all know is it’s going to get cold. This colder weather is prime for coronavirus spread, because it’s harder to be outside, and there are other bugs floating around that might weaken your immune system. In fact, we just had the highest number of new cases of Covid-19 emerge since the pandemic started.

Credit Larry Schulte
"The Human Eye - Array of Cones" (2020)

We know you have pandemic fatigue. Host Khalil Ekulona is a homebody, and even he wants to get out of the house. It is just not safe to do so. We are now in the third wave, and this one is predicted to hit harder than it has before. We know you want to go out, to socialize, to see family and actually hug them. You’ll be alright: It’s like riding a bike. You won’t forget how to hug people.

But we have to become even stricter with our movements and our activities. Stay in the house, unless you have to go to the store or an emergency. Wash your hands. Wear your mask. We’ve done a pretty good job. Now is not the time to ease up.

MOMENT OF LEVITATION: Comedian Sarah Kennedy is a good friend of the show. We always love having her on for her humor, wit, and perspective. Check out Episode two of NoMoNo, Disappearing Acts to hear her story: The Chicken Chase. Sarah dropped a line to NoMoNo HQ to give us a silver lining.

NEXT WEEK: Next week we’re digging into our ballots. No endorsements but we will be breaking down all of the initiatives and other important things voters are tackling.

Special thanks to:

  • KUNM reporter Taylor Velazquez for the voter profile
  • Kaveh Mowahed, Taylor Velazquez and Ty Bannerman for the editing help
  • Jazztone the Producer, Cheo, Dahm Life, and Oh Lawd Records for providing music for the show. Khaki, Pope Yesyesyall, and Bigawatt produced some of the show’s themes. 
  • Larry Schulte and Vanessa Bowen for providing the artwork and imagery for the online representation of this episode.

No More Normal is brought to you by Your New Mexico Government, a collaboration between KUNM, New Mexico PBS, and the Santa Fe Reporter. Funding for our coverage comes from the New Mexico Local News Fund, the Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners like you, with support for public media provided by the Thornburg Foundation.

Credit Vanessa Bowen

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.