COMMENTARY: For the first time, this year the Doña Ana County Bureau of Elections will open our doors and offer you a chance to vote on Memorial Day.
Exercising our right to vote demonstrates our gratitude for those who fought for our freedom, some making the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. The act of voting may seem like a small act, but it carries incredible weight and power.
“I see my ballot as a soldier’s life, and I take it as seriously as if I’m choosing whether this soldier lives or dies.” The gravity of this statement from a 24-year-old combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan is solemn yet earnest. His life experience coupled with his understanding of how policy impacts our daily lives is the reason he votes. How does this translate into your own life?
This Election Day ask yourself, “What does your vote stand for?” Does it stand for a child’s education, public safety, or better housing for our homeless veterans? Once you understand what your vote stands for, research the candidates and cast your vote for those who have similar values. With so many local candidates on the ballot this year, your vote can make a difference in any one of our local races for county and state seats.
In the clerk’s office, we say, “Democracy Starts with Us.” This isn’t a debate about whether we are a republic or a democracy. It is a constant reminder that we have the freedom to choose to participate in the democratic process by casting our vote. Blood was shed for the right to vote to give us the opportunity to change our future. “Democracy Starts with Us” is a constant reminder of the gravity of the work we do.
At the clerk’s office, we are removing barriers to casting your vote.
We are opening more voting convenience centers (VCC) in rural communities, bringing the total to 40 VCCs that will be open on Election Day, June 7, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. We also moved our early voting location in Sunland Park to the DACC Sunland Park Center to improve accessibility to early voting in the southern end of our county.
Registering to vote online has been a huge success for many New Mexicans, but not everyone has Internet access. That’s one of the reasons we prioritize outreach, including providing information in Spanish. Our outreach efforts have been successful, with 418 people registering to vote at community events. In addition, we registered 313 people in 14 local high schools.
I received a call this week from a person who is confined to a wheelchair, and once in his car he finds it difficult to get out. We discussed absentee voting, but he takes pride in voting in person. He asked if there was a way he could vote curbside. I told him we will make it happen because we want to eliminate barriers and create opportunities so that everyone votes in Doña Ana County.
This Memorial Day, we invite you to honor all of those who fought, and are still fighting, for our freedom to participate in democracy by casting your vote. You can vote at the Doña Ana County Government Center, 845 N. Motel Blvd., on Monday, May 30, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
We cannot think of a better way to memorialize our Veterans than by choosing to exercise our right to vote. By voting, we can change our future and transform lives. We wholeheartedly thank our veterans and their families for the sacrifices they have made for our freedom to vote.
Krahling is Doña Ana County’s chief deputy clerk and is a Democrat who is running for county clerk this year.