First-time voting is a family affair for Fabiola Landeros, a civil rights organizer with El Centro de Acción y Poder in Albuquerque and a new citizen. She and her son Santiago Carrillo and his girlfriend Kameron Peña, both 20, visited an early voting site on Albuquerque’s Westside on Wednesday to drop off their mail-in ballots. All three were voting for the first time, and they shared their experience with KUNM as part of our Voices Behind the Vote series.
“Mi nombre es Fabiola Landeros and I'm a civil rights organizer with El Centro de Acción y Poder. Today, I came to cast my ballot for the first time voting for presidential elections. I'm really excited. I'm really excited to be right now the voice of power my family in my community because we have a strong voice and we're going to make sure that it's heard and in these elections. I was married to a U.S. citizen for 12 years, and it took me almost eight of them to be able to become a U.S. citizen. I became a legal permanent resident and 2009 and I was (not) able to become a U.S. citizen until last year, so 10 years. My biggest barrier was the language.
"Right now, we have a lot at stake. For me, paid sick leave, economic relief, keeping families together. I know what a deportation can cause in a family, so I will not like that another family goes through a deportation and not being able to keep their family together. At the same time we see what an election can cause in our community. Like we've been criminalized, persecuted, this is the time to stop this. You still have time to do it safe, like wear your mask, make sure that safe for you, for your family, for the people that are working here, and it's making sure that we use these privileges. Let’s do it."
“I'm in Santiago Carrillo, and I am a college student at the University of New Mexico. This is my first time voting ever. Ever since I was a teenager, I've always looked forward to this moment. I mean, being able to come and act like an adult and do it myself. Paid sick leave, and immigration. That is actually a very important one to me, just because I know what it's like losing a family member and having them deported. It's very important to do this. We get to choose who's going to run our country, we get to choose what values are going to be instilled for the next four years and what laws are going to be passed."
“My name is Kameron Peña. I'm a college student as well. I was born and raised here in Albuquerque. And this is my first time voting in the presidential election. It feels amazing. Knowing that I get a chance to vote to see who leads our country."
“We just cast our ballots and it feels really nice to be part of who's gonna be choosing the net leadership of this country,” said Landeros after she and her family exited the voting site, laughing and holding their “I Voted” stickers. “They hopefully will be one who represents New Mexican values of community values.”
“I feel relieved, I did my part and I have already tried to encourage more people to come out and vote and now that I've done it and feels great,” said Carrillo.
“It feels really amazing,” said Peña. “Knowing that I had a voice and I'm able to choose who's leading our country know that you have a voice and get out and get there because it can definitely change the world.”