Rio Rancho

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.

Bert Benally

Let’s take a breath. In episode 12, we try to fend off that wild pandemic election news cycle we’ve been living inside of, which can feel like a deluge of disorganized tragedies and failures. And we put the focus on what’s hanging in the balance these next couple of weeks as we cast our ballots.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The Black New Mexico Movement returned to Rio Rancho on Saturday, three weeks after their peaceful rally in the conservative suburban city was overrun with a couple hundred aggressive counter-protestors. This time, the pushback was much smaller and more subdued. This weekend’s Peace Talk was focused on getting out the vote as part of the struggle for racial justice. 

Nash Jones / KUNM

Rallies and marches for racial justice have drawn thousands to the streets of New Mexico’s largest city this summer, but protest looked different for one 67-year-old Black resident of an Albuquerque suburb. Every weekday for a month, Elizabeth Ward stood ­­– and sometimes sat – with a Black Lives Matter sign on a dusty street corner in Rio Rancho. The sprawling city’s population is whiter and more conservative than Albuquerque’s, with an all-Republican governing body. 

Nash Jones / KUNM

Most of the demonstrations calling for justice and an end to racist police violence in New Mexico over the last two weeks have been in Albuquerque. On Saturday morning, the more conservative, western suburb of Rio Rancho held its own demonstration with about 100 people gathering on the steps of City Hall. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

A sea of red hats and red shirts surrounded the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho last night as Trump supporters gathered to chant and shout their patriotism. When he came three years ago, headlines highlighted the violent reaction to his visit to Albuquerque, though hundreds had protested peacefully for hours before that went down. This time, his campaign painted New Mexico as a winnable swing state, saying he had growing support among Hispanic voters. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM Public Radio

On Friday, lawmakers advanced a bill that would make it easier for New Mexico school districts to recruit retired law enforcement officers to work as school security guards. The proposal took form in the wake of the December 2017 school shooting in Aztec, in which two students were killed. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

2/20 11a:  Police say a 16-year-old boy accused of firing a gun at a New Mexico high school told officers 11 months prior voices were telling him to "shoot up the school."

Wikimedia Commons via CC

The American Civil Liberties Union says laws against panhandling around the country violate free speech rights. The local branch of the ACLU sent letters to 10 cities in New Mexico on Monday, August 28, demanding that they strike down those panhandling bans.

Sarah Trujillo / KUNM

New Mexico’s struggled to recover fully from the recession, and it can still be a real challenge to find steady work in the state. That’s central to how 18-year-old Quinton Valencia is casting his vote this year. KUNM tagged along with Valencia as he applied for a job at Target in Rio Rancho.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The Associated Press looked at data from medical facilities for veterans around the U.S. and reported that four in New Mexico were among the worst when it comes to long waits for appointments. 

Veterans using VA clinics in Farmington, Santa Fe and Rio Rancho, and the hospital in Albuquerque, might be waiting a long time for health care. Those facilities were near the top of the AP’s list, with Farmington coming in No. 6—out of 940.