Local News

New Mexico Tightens Restrictions, Virus Cases Hit New High - Cedar Attanasio Associated Press/Report For America

New Mexico officials are reporting that daily confirmed positive COVID-19 cases have swelled to a record 2,897 cases.
They also reported Wednesday an additional 26 deaths.
Following a set of restrictions rolled out Monday in an attempt to "reset" the state's fight against the virus, the governor is issuing additional tightening on the definitions of essential businesses.

Mariquitas CK via Wikimedia

Amid Record Virus Deaths, New Mexico Looks For 12k Students - By Cedar Attanasio, Associated Press

New Mexico has hit a new high in virus deaths and infections.

On Tuesday, the state reported a record 2,112 known new cases of the virus, bringing the total case count to over 67,000.

Hannah Colton, Twitter @hmcolton

The KUNM community is heartbroken to say that News Director Hannah Colton died earlier this week at age 29. 

Margaret Wright

On Saturday, Nov. 7, just after the presidential race was called for Biden, hundreds turned up on the steps of the state’s capital for a rally against election results--though there has not yet been evidence of fraud. And a quick content warning: This story contains antagonism based in transphobia.  

Wow, we just had a tense bunch of days, each one filled with anticipation and impatience and consternation. From people worrying about how the election was going to play out, to some keeping an eye on potential violence, it would be an understatement to say that anxieties were high. It makes sense, 2020 has been mad anxious as my East Coast compatriots would say. But the electoral college digits that just wouldn’t move are not the only numbers the United States has to grapple with. Most of the country spent so much of their attention on the election, news of record- breaking new covid cases barely cut through the din. No matter who’s in charge, we’ve got a lot in front of us.

KUNM / Creative Commons

This week, New Mexico voters blew past turnout records of years past, and pushed the state Senate further to the left. That means that in the next legislative session, some policies and plans might be on the table that weren’t before. KUNM's Megan Kamerick spoke with Marjorie Childress, who wrote about the progressive shift for New Mexico In Depth.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Let's Talk New Mexico 11/5, 8a: There’s never been an election like 2020, and on this week's Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’ll be looking at how the process played out and the consequences of Tuesday’s vote. From the President all the way down the ballot, join us as we sort through the results and what they might mean for our state. We want to hear from you! What’s been on your mind as you’ve watched results come in? What hopes or fears do you have for New Mexico or the nation in this moment?

On Tuesday, Nov. 3, New Mexico made history by electing its first U.S. House delegation composed of all women of color. Yvette Herrell, Teresa Leger Fernandez and Deb Haaland also make up the largest ever all-woman House delegation to Congress.

Yasmin Khan / KUNM

Election Day 2020 was unique amid the COVID-19 pandemic with historic statewide turnout and record-high absentee ballots cast in New Mexico. Alex Curtas, Communications Director for New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, said Wednesday, Nov. 4, that only small amount of absentee ballots remain uncounted across the state and that no distruptions at the polls were reported. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Many people have been concerned this election season about voter intimidation and violence at the polls, and groups of New Mexicans mobilized to protect voting rights in their communities. Bernalillo County election officials say Election Day passed without significant problems.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Record numbers of people have turned out to cast ballots across the country this election, despite confidence in American democracy among citizens being at its lowest since researchers started keeping track 25 years ago. Many voters are participating in the electoral system while looking outside of it for hope or solutions. Among them is Leon M. Powell, who spoke with KUNM for this final installment of our 2020 Voices Behind The Vote series.

Yasmin Khan / KUNM

 


Poll workers spend their day checking in voters, printing ballots and helping people understand the voting process. For Albuquerque poll workers Henry Dryden and Ave Freeman, that last part is key – even though they aren’t old enough to vote yet.  

Jpawela via Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons

New Mexico’s second congressional district race is a rematch of 2018, when Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small defeated Republican Yvette Herrell by fewer than 4,000 mostly absentee votes. This year, once again, the southern district could see a close race with absentee ballots playing an important role. KUNM caught up with the candidates the morning of Election Day to discuss lessons learned from 2018, and how they’re feeling the second time around. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Say you went to vote on Election Day 2020, and the poll worker could not find your registration information in the computer system. In that case, you’re supposed to get what’s called a provisional ballot. You fill it out along with a form. It’s set in a separate pile, and later, someone will try to find your registration information to see if your vote can be counted. But the morning of Election Day, at least a few polling locations in Sandoval County could not print provisional ballots.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Clifton White and Selinda Guerrero organized Free Them All Fridays for months, speaking out against conditions and abuses in New Mexico prisons. White had spent years behind the walls, with Guerrero on the outside calling for prisoners’ rights. After the couple pulled together the first Black Lives Matter protest of 2020 in Albuquerque in late May, White was arrested on an administrative parole violation, which Guerrero says was retaliation for their protests. She and other demonstrators called for his release all summer long. He was returned to his family late last week. KUNM talked with the couple Monday, Nov. 2, in a park, with everyone wearing masks, which you might hear in the interview.

Vanessa Bowen

This election is a crucial one, and amid the deluge of content on social media, it can be tough to sort out the facts from rumors or disinformation that may stoke baseless fears about the election process or its outcomes. KUNM spoke with Roberta Rael, executive director of Generation Justice, about how to avoid spreading fake news this week.

Sarah Trujillo / KUNM

Poll workers are key to any election: they help voters cast their ballots, answer questions, and ensure things run smoothly at voting centers. Bernalillo County Clerk Linda Stover oversees the county’s approximately 1,000 poll workers. She spoke with KUNM’s Yasmin Khan about what voters can expect at the polls Tuesday, including the presence of partisan poll watchers and challengers, and COVID-19 precautions. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Tuesday, Nov. 3, is Election Day and despite record turnout during early voting in New Mexico, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver says there may still be long lines at the polls. 

Eric J. Garcia / El Machete Illustrated

The final presidential debate of 2020 got passing marks because the candidates managed to take turns. But rarely did they roll out the kind of action plans the moderator was looking for. She kept asking: If elected, what will you do about this big problem we are facing? Still, candidates did not venture into specifics. We think that was by design. The strategy was, make debate No. 1 so bad that by the time debate No. 2 comes around, expectations are so low, everyone will just be grateful it’s not incoherent shouting and call it good. But in a time with multiple crises pressing down on us, specific plans can pull people together, provide direction and alleviate anxiety. So that’s what this episode is all about. What do you want to hear candidates talking about? What kinds of plans and policies do you wish they were outlining before the public?

Lonnie Anderson

For months, demonstrators fighting police violence and racism have been calling for the state to release Albuquerque protest organizer Clifton White from prison. His wife, Selinda Guerrero, said she was surprised by a call from Santa Rosa prison staff on Thursday saying she should come pick him up. 

Yasmin Khan / KUNM

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.

Yasmin Khan / KUNM

New voters are an influential voting bloc in national and local elections. A diverse sector of citizens, new voters include people who turned 18 since the last elections, adults who have never voted in the past, and newly naturalized citizens. Mohammad Ismail, 30, came to the U.S. seven years ago on a special visa for military interpreters working in Afghanistan. He told KUNM voting for the first time is a big step as a citizen and a way to grow roots in his new home country. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

With a record number of absentee ballots requested in New Mexico, there are questions about how long it will take to find out the results of the 2020 election. State election officials say they’re hopeful they’ll have a final tally within a couple days of Election Day.

Delaney Brigman


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 about why voting is important to her and what young people want from their politicians. 

The confirmation of conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday raises concerns about preserving access to abortion and other reproductive health care. A new survey of Indigenous people in New Mexico found a vast majority support reproductive freedom and peoples’ right to make health care decisions without government interference. Krystal Curley, who’s Diné and the director of Indigenous Life Ways, a nonprofit that works with communities impacted by uranium mining as well as violence against women. She says the report released this week is the largest known study of Native Americans’ views on reproductive health care.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The arrival of freezing temperatures and snow means sudden, extreme hardship for the hundreds of people living without shelter in Albuquerque. A group of friends and service providers saw the cold front coming and quickly organized an emergency winter gear drive over the weekend. 

courtesy of Teran Villa

 

As voters head to the polls, the disparate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are top of mind for many, as are the racial inequities baked into every aspect of American society. Teran Villa  is employed at the Pueblo of Jemez Department of Education and is working toward his Masters degree in Public Administration at the University of New Mexico. He spoke with KUNM for our Voices Behind The Vote series.

Contributed by artist Larry Schulte

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. 

Isabel Calderon

Newly naturalized citizens could sway the outcome of this years’ presidential, senatorial, and gubernatorial elections, according to a new report by the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA). It says 5 million people across the country have become new citizens since 2014, with 3 million becoming citizens since Donald Trump’s election.

 

The decisions made by leaders and policy makers during the COVID-19 pandemic will have repercussions on small businesses across the state, and the economic effects of the public health crisis have hit Black and Brown communities hard. Antavius Greathouse, a financial advisor, has been paying attention. He spoke with KUNM for our Voices Behind The Vote series ahead of the election.

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