Voices Behind the Vote

Voices Behind The Vote: Counting On Community

Nov 4, 2020
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.  

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. 

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 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.

Ty Bannerman

 

Protests against racial injustice have taken place in communities across the country this year, some focusing on calls to remove monuments to racist figures. Last week, on Indigenous People’s Day, an obelisk in the Santa Fe plaza that commemorated colonial violence against Indigenous people was pulled down by demonstrators. As part of our Voices Behind The Vote series, Santa Fe writer Darryl Lorenzo Wellington spoke with KUNM about what that community action meant to him in an election cycle that has seen racism take center stage.  

Yasmin Khan / KUNM

 

New Mexico has the highest percentage of Latinx and Hispanic voters of any state in the U.S.; according to the Pew Research Center, nearly 43% of eligible voters in the state are Hispanic. Isabel Calderon, a Peruvian graduate student, lives in the Barelas neighborhood near Downtown Albuquerque with her two young sons and her elderly mother. She spoke about the importance of exercising her right to vote as an immigrant and what issues she’s keeping in mind this election. 

Courtesy of Georgia Petropoulos

Politicians and judges on your ballot this year have made decisions in response to the coronavirus pandemic that immediately impacted the health of the community—and the economy. These decisions affected the small business of Georgia Petropoulos, who owns Casa San Pablo, a senior living home in Albuquerque, and now inform her vote.

Courtesy of Claire Porter

The federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic is on the ballot this year as President Trump runs for reelection in a country that’s seen over 7 million people test positive for COVID-19 and over 210,000 die from the virus. Middle school teacher Claire Porter, who’s currently on medical leave, spoke with KUNM about how her family’s experience of the pandemic underpins her vote for a different federal approach.

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.

Nash Jones / KUNM

As protests against police brutality and racism continue across the nation, police reform has become a top issue in this year’s election. Former Albuquerque police officer Debbie Kuidis spoke with KUNM about the changes to policing she wants to see politicians affect, and why she’s paying attention to races from the national to the local level.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

During the presidential debate a week ago, moderator Chris Wallace asked President Trump to denounce white supremacy. Trump sidestepped the question and instead told a white supremacist group to “stand back and stand by.” The next day, I caught up with Art Simoni, who once would have called himself conservative, and who was my editor when I was a student reporter nearly 20 years ago.

Transcript:

Nash Jones / KUNM

Half of the millennial and Generation Z voters under 30 who plan to cast their ballots for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden aren’t very enthusiastic about the candidate, according to a survey by the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics. Reina Davis is a 23-year-old Albuquerque voter who, while not particularly excited about her options for president, sees voting as harm-reduction, and as one facet of fighting for reproductive justice, one of her priority issues.

Felicia Montoya, Markus Wall, Kema

Millions of people around the U.S. have already voted early. Simultaneously many people are preparing to fill out their ballots, but are concerned with how they will deliver them, and, more importantly, if their vote will be counted. So many questions. Here at NoMoNo, we are going to dig deep to find answers for you. Episode 11 is all about preserving and exercising your right to vote. We talk with New Mexico's secretary of state, the president of the Albuquerque chapter of the American Postal Workers Union, a national election law expert, activists who protecting voting rights for underserved communities—and voters.

May Ortega | KUNM

 

Immigration is one of this election’s biggest issues.

Tammy WilkersonHill-Fisher teaches English as a second language with the Immigrant and Refugee Resource Village of Albuquerque, and that's definitely one of her biggest political drivers.

Let's Talk Voices Behind The Vote 2018

Oct 31, 2018
buschap via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Let's Talk New Mexico 11/1 8a: The 2018 mid-term election is just days away on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. New Mexico voters will choose our next governor and candidates for U.S. Senate, Congress, and the state Legislature among other offices. What's driving you to the polls this year? What are the issues that you care most about this election? Are you hopeful and excited about the candidates? Or do partisan divisions and nasty campaign ads sour you on the democratic process? Maybe you can't vote, but you'd like to. Or maybe you are choosing not to vote. We'd like to hear from you. Email LetsTalk@kunm.org or call in live during the show. 

On a windy weekday, KUNM went to a modest farm in Albuquerque’s South Valley. From there we continue our Voices Behind the Vote series with a voter who’s concerned about his livestock, government spending, and his children’s futures.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

New Mexico’s next governor will inherit the task of turning around a struggling public education system. This year a judge ruled the state has violated the constitutional rights of at-risk students, including those with disabilities, and must make changes to give everyone an adequate education.

May Ortega | KUNM

 

Voters aged 18 to 35 usually have the country’s lowest turnout rate at the polls. But Tracy Chamberlin, a young manager for G by GUESS in the Coronado Center, has made it her goal to get her peers more involved in politics.

Voices Behind The Vote: Flipping The Script

Oct 23, 2018
Hannah Colton / KUNM

Lots of people don’t vote because they don’t see candidates they identify with or they don’t think their vote counts for much. KUNM spoke with a student who's got a lot on his mind, including felony charges and an upcoming trial date. Even so, he says he’s getting informed and getting to the polls for the first time this election.

Fibonacci Blue / Creative Commons Attribution License

 

Gun control is an issue driving at least one local to the polls and to an Albuquerque gun show.

Voices Behind The Vote: Independent And Unimpressed

Oct 18, 2018
Hannah Colton / KUNM

Nearly a quarter of New Mexican voters this year are not registered as Democrats or Republicans. 

That includes Kevin Elfering and Marla Hanno, who have lived in Rio Rancho for ten years, much of their retirement since they moved from Minnesota. They don’t identify with either major party, and say each election season they spend considerable time watching debates and reading up on candidates before casting their ballots. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Candidates in this year’s presidential election have been tight-lipped about the fight against an oil pipeline in North Dakota and how demonstrators there are being treated by police. That’s weighing on Sharon Chavez, who is Navajo and Hopi-Tewa. She’s a retired educator who’s lived in San Felipe Pueblo for 47 years. She talked with KUNM about what it means for her as a woman to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.

Courtesy of Yesenia Luna

Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump has escalated the national battle over immigration and race in America with his views on Mexican immigrants and building a wall for border security. KUNM talked to Yesenia Luna, a pre-law student at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, about how the national rhetoric affected her ballot.

The opioid epidemic is a national crisis, and in Northern New Mexico it’s a problem that’s been around for decades.

For the latest in our Voices Behind the Vote series, KUNM visited the home of an addiction counselor in Rio Arriba County to hear about her thoughts on substance abuse and the presidential race.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Mountainair is a small town in New Mexico about an hour and a half southeast of Albuquerque. It’s got one streetlight and one gas station. Pastor Darrell Roberts says he likes living out in the open where people look at things from a humble perspective and live a simpler—if usually less affluent—lifestyle.

As part of our Voices Behind The Vote series, KUNM talked with Pastor Roberts about what matters to him as Election Day comes down the tracks.

Ed Williams

Sexual assault, gender equality and women’s reproductive rights have taken center stage this election season, with controversial comments by Donald Trump galvanizing some voters’ support for Hillary Clinton.

KUNM met with one of those voters at a restaurant in Santa Fe to find out why she’s supporting the Democratic presidential ticket.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

If you live in a rural part of New Mexico where your nearest neighbor is miles away, it could be tempting to just tune out this year’s election. But David Doler says he can’t ignore things like Social Security, Medicare or any talk of infringing on a person’s right to keep and bear arms.

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.

Sarah Trujillo

Several thousand supporters showed up at Donald Trump’s last-minute campaign stop on Sunday night in Albuquerque. KUNM chatted with them as they waited in line at the private hangar near the city's airport.

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