The 2022 midterm election at the Questa Municipal Village Hall went off without a hitch, thanks to the many individuals and agencies who work behind the scenes to manage elections. Voting procedures for voters and the poll workers seemed easier than ever, well organized, and with excellent back-up from county leaders.
Most voters don’t think about what it takes to fulfill the American promise of casting a vote. Besides the federal, state and county officials who make an election happen, we should acknowledge our folks right here at home in Questa.
Besides the many poll workers that help in Questa elections, Flavio Cisneros may be the most familiar face for voters. He began as a poll worker in 1970 and has been at the polls every year since. Flavio is the Presiding Judge of Questa elections. His sidekick, Election Judge Barbara Rael, started 10 years ago when she retired from 37 years in the Questa Schools. In elections requiring more than one polling station in our area, many more poll workers are needed. Thank you to everyone who worked the polls!
Alberta Bouyer is a volunteer Poll Challenger, a term she says sounds too aggressive for our well-behaved voters and skilled poll workers here in Questa. Assigned by the Taos County Democratic leadership, she functions as another pair of eyes in the event of any intimidation or “mischief” for this important process. This year in Questa they reportedly only had one troublesome, disrespectful voter during early-voting days. Everyone else was generally enthusiastic and careful.
Early voting began on Oct. 22 and continued until Nov. 5. Questa early-voting closed out at 405 voters, high for Questa. Poll workers said many early voters were from Red River and El Rito, north of Questa. On election day 359 voters cast their ballots at the Questa Municipal Village Hall voting station. Jeannie Masters, who worked the polls at the Cerro polling station, said 116 additional ballots were cast in Cerro on Election Day.
In New Mexico the public can now register to vote right up to Election Day, although during early-voting, this had to be done at the County offices. On Election Day itself, voters could go to any polling station in the county to register to vote and when the electronic application is complete (which can take a few minutes) they can cast their ballot. It is quick, easy, and convenient. The registration process could have gone more smoothly this year had the public been better informed about these improved registration procedures: they need to present, not just a photo ID, but also proof of residence, such as a utility bill, etc., provided as a photocopy for the County to keep. This begged the question: what about young voters who live with their parents and don’t have their own utility bills, or likewise, some renters whose utilities are paid. Hopefully, by the next election people will be better informed about the process. It is a wonderful policy that encourages higher voter turnout.
Thank you to everyone who made the 2022 election in Questa go so smoothly!