Then and Now: Portraits of Albuquerque Voters

Voters respond to what’s changed since 2016

By Dillon Bergin,

Excerpted from Searchlight New Mexico

We are on track for the highest turnout of any election in New Mexico history. 

In the three weeks of early voting, 770,596 New Mexicans cast their vote. Combined, these votes represent 96 percent of all votes in the 2016 election and 93 percent of all votes in the 2008 election, the previous record-breaking year. 

Yet this election is historic for more reasons than just voter turnout. Searchlight New Mexico set out across Albuquerque to ask people how they voted and hear what’s changed for them since 2016. We talked to an 18-year-old couple from the Northeast Heights, both of them voting for the first time, and to an 83-year-old woman from the South Valley who has seen — and voted in — many elections over the course of her life. We heard from Hispanics for Trump and from a local college student who voted for Hillary four years ago. 

We talked to voters from every corner of Albuquerque and asked the same question every time: What has changed since 2016 and how did that affect your vote? 

Deezbah Church, 20, from northeast Albuquerque, voted for Biden.

Church: Everything changed since 2016, from school to life to work. I was laid off from work. Tuition has gone up at UNM while being online. But every vote counts and the way world is going now, voting is life-changing. 

South Valley residents Loretta Glaser, 58, and Maurice Chavez, 61. They voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and again in 2020.

Glaser: Well, let me tell you why I voted for him again. He wasn’t a politician. He wasn’t afraid to speak clearly to the public and he didn’t make promises he couldn’t keep. He’s done so much for us in the last four years, and that’s why I’m voting for him again. He’s definitely for religious freedom as well, which means a lot to me and my family. 

Chavez: I’m very happy that I get the opportunity to vote again for Donald Trump. I was born and raised Democrat, but I changed my affiliation back around 1990. I felt like the two parties’ platforms had changed, and so did their foundational values. I think the right to life is one of the biggest issues for me. Donald Trump has the values that I prefer and the values that I’m happy with. I have a small business that I had to shut down for a while, but now we’re going to re-open again. With his financial strategy, I think the economy is going in the right direction.

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