COMMENTARY: I voted on Friday. It was easy.
I arrived at the Doña Ana County Government Center to find a steady stream of people entering and leaving the building. A man stood near the entrance wearing a bright orange shirt with the words “Jesus saves” on it. He held a tall, thin, white cross.
I watched him closely. Was he politicking? You can’t campaign that close to a polling place.
But he wasn’t. He was just standing there smiling. Some people approached and had a friendly conversation with him while I was nearby.
Inside, there were about 20 people in line, and it took me a few minutes to get my ballot. The technician was friendly, knowledgeable and visibly tired. “We’ve had about 3,000 voters today,” she told me.
I joked with her and another county employee for a moment. I thanked them for their important and hard work. Then I found a cardboard kiosk and filled out my ballot.
Voting was that easy. I inserted my ballot into a machine, watched it record my submission, got a sticker that said I voted, and left.
As I walked out of the building, I saw that the line of people waiting to vote had grown quickly to about 50 people. There’s lots of interest in this election. Turnout is up.
There were no protesters or people peering at voters with suspicious eyes. I saw folks smile at each other and have cordial conversations.
Others may have different experiences, but that was mine.
As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I understand that some people are frustrated with our political system. I certainly am. I’ve talked with people who don’t want to vote at all this year. And you don’t have to. It’s your choice.
But I believe you should vote. Staying involved is the only hope we have for creating a better society for ourselves and future generations.
You can leave certain races blank. You don’t have to vote for president if you don’t like the candidates. There are local and state races, judicial retention questions, a constitutional amendment, and funding issues on the ballot too.
Your vote matters.
Early voting in New Mexico ends Saturday. Tuesday is Election Day. In New Mexico, you can figure out when and where you can vote by clicking here.