Short Photo Essay on South Valley Election Morning, 2016

Deciding that sitting around doing little more than refreshing the live blog on wasn’t really accomplishing much, and having far too much nervous Election Day energy, I figured my time would be better spent earlier today riding my bike to a few polling places down here in the South Valley.

Another reason to do so was to give you a rather rare look into my part of town. Let’s face it, outside of special events, such as the recent Dia de los Muertos Marigold Parade, and the occasional crime story, not many folks, news crews included, make it down here.

For example, today’s Albuquerque Journal story about how things are going at election precincts this morning features the usual assortment of suspects, including Rio Rancho, Cibola HS and other Westside, North of I-40 locations.

Other parts of town need mentioning, too. So here’s a brief photographic look at how it looked earlier today in the deep South Valley, south of Rio Bravo even, including locales some out there might have never seen before (including Albuquerque Journal reporters).

1. Not a polling place (but a pollos place).

This is the “Breaking Bad” Twister’s (AKA: “Los Pollos Hermanos“) just down the street from my house off Isleta Blvd. It’s still being used by film crews, a lot, for “Better Call Saul,” although I think I’m not supposed to tell you that. A security guard tried to stop me from taking photos, which seems a bit discriminatory against cyclists, as everybody has taken untold photos from their car over the years with zero hassle. Putting a political spin on it, if we’re giving these TV/movie folks huge tax credits, we get to take a photo here and there, imho.



Photo 2. Pajarito Elementary School on San Felipe S.W.

No line whatsoever. As I left, a woman turning into the school from San Felipe asked me if there was a line. She was ecstatic to hear my answer, giving me a big thumbs up.



3. Bernalillo County Visitor and Cultural Center on Isleta Boulevard across from Abuelita’s Restaurant.

“Just in and out,” an exiting group of voters told me. This is “our” early voting location, one that was basically underwater as recently as last Sunday afternoon due to rains and our South Valley-wide stormwater drainage awfulness (can you say “voter suppression”?).

To be honest, we used to vote early at the Senior Center further north and it was a much better location. The dinky parking lot is just about full, but no line out the door, whatsoever. The Senior Center never had that problem. Also, the only way you can give directions to this place is by saying “it’s across from Abuelita’s Restaurant,” because people know where that is. We really should make Abuelita’s a voting location. The parking lot is bigger, for one thing.



4. Polk Middle School on Raymac almost to I-25.  

Nearly deserted. You’ll notice the Patricia Paiz for County Commissioner sign in this shot, and that gets me to my only political mention in this post. Paiz is a Republican running against Steven Michael Quezada, of the formerly mentioned “Breaking Bad.” Paiz winning as a “R” in a hugely Democratic Commission District would be just about unprecedented, but it must be said Quezada has run a truly lousy campaign.

After saying he wouldn’t rely on his TV show stardom, all he’s done is constantly use quotes from Bryan Cranston and other “stars.” Outside of that, nothing. He’s probably going to win, but the number of Paiz signs around the South Valley is certainly interesting. My pet theory is that Republican turnout, albeit still small, will be a bit higher than normal down here due not to Trump, but Paiz. Not having single-party voting in New Mexico would seem to be a factor in a situation like this, too. We’ll see.



5. Adobe Acres Elementary School on Camino del Valle off Isleta Boulevard. 

There was certainly more action outside this voting precinct, but still nothing close to any line filling that brick wall on the left. At the four places I visited, there was also NOTHING like the reported guy outside Jefferson Middle School here in town telling folks that “a bunch of illegal immigrants are voting.”

Yes, my little “tour” was in the generally sleepy South Valley, but it was pin-drop quiet at each of the locations I visited. All you could hear, honest, was the sound of circling cranes far overhead. The deep South Valley is nice like that.

Now do the nonexistent lines and such only reflect the high early voting turnout? Or does it portend lower Latino voting rates in New Mexico/the country, being as the SV is one of the highest proportional Latino areas anywhere?

Guess we’ll find out that and a great deal more we may or may not want to know in just a few hours. Happy Election Night, 2016, everybody!

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