Steady, smooth, fast and efficient.
That’s how most voters in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho described Election Day voting on Tuesday.
Voting centers had people lining up to cast a ballot when the polls first opened at 7 a.m. and within a couple of hours the lines had pretty much disappeared. Voting remained steady throughout the rest of the day, with a slight lunch hour surge at some locations and barely a blip in increased traffic after 5 p.m.
The average wait time at polling places ranged from 8-10 minutes throughout most of the day and two minutes or less after 5 p.m.
Joey Keefe, spokesman for the Bernalillo County Clerk’s Office, said there were no major problems to report, either with voting machines or voters being unable to cast a ballot. He attributed the ease of Election Day voting to having 69 polling locations around the county and the fact that more than 209,000 early and absentee votes were cast before Tuesday.
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At the Esther Bone Memorial Library in Rio Rancho voter Nanette Vela, a registered nurse, said she waited until Election Day because she needed the extra time to think about who to support for president and to read up on the different down ballot questions and candidates.
“The process is great, but this election is kind of depressing and there’s so much controversy,” she said. Although she supported Clinton, “Hillary was not my first choice, but voting for Trump would have been like voting for myself, because I don’t completely understand how government works, either.”
Down the hill at the Cibola High School polling place, voter Karen Hamilton was happy that the process was so efficient because she waited until Election Day while making up her mind. “I voted for Trump even though I’m a Democrat,” she said. “I’m fascinated with him. I like that he’s not a politician. Maybe we need someone with a fresh way of looking at things.”
Voter Jerry Lee said he was “never undecided.” He called Trump a “loser,” adding “I would never want my children to act like that,” he said. “We all have baggage, but what it comes down to is who can actually do the job.”
Republican Party poll challengers Dereck Scott and his wife, Ash Scott, were monitoring several West Side locations. “Everything is going smoothly and I think the presiding judges want to be fair,” Dereck Scott said as he left the Petroglyph Plaza site. He did, however, “irritate” one judge at the Volcano Vista site when he challenged a person’s eligibility to vote because the man couldn’t remember his date of birth. The man was able to cast his ballot after he presented identification with his birth date, Scott said.
Henry Pacheco and his wife, Deborah Pacheco voted at the Raymond G. Sanchez Community Center in the North Valley. “I trust my vote to be counted on Election Day, and worry that if I do early voting it might not get counted,” he said.
At La Cueva High School in the far Northeast Heights, Gina Cormier had her hands full with an infant, a 3-year-old and a 4-year-old in tow. She voted for Trump. “Hillary Clinton scares me because of her position on abortion,” she said, admitting that “I don’t like Donald Trump either, but he’s the lesser of two evils, and maybe this county needs to be run by a businessman.”
Alicia Duran decided to share the voting experience with her son, Joseph Duran, 9. Voting on Election Day makes her “feel more engaged in the Democratic process,” she said.
“I voted for Hillary because I want to see a strong female president in charge of our nation,” Duran said. “I believe in the democratic process and these are the two candidates who were put forward so this is who we have to select from. I was a Bernie (Sanders) fan.”
The process of voting in this election is “super easy, so there’s no reason for anybody not to vote,” said Steve Rodgers, who had just cast his vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein at the South Valley Multi-Purpose Senior Center. A registered Democrat, Rodgers said he was disappointed in the two majority party candidates and hopes attention to third party candidates attracts more campaign money for them in the future.
Diane Jeffers cast her vote for Gary Johnson at Van Buren Middle School in the Southeast Heights. “I was in and out in like five minutes,” she said.
“Hillary Clinton is corrupt in every possible way, and Donald Trump is a mess and a very angry man. Every time he opens his mouth someone has to step in and fix things. He has somewhat of a handle on financial issues, but he’s mess on everything else. Everything.”
Come Wednesday morning, voters whose candidate did not get elected are going to be disappointed, said Clinton supporter Yolanda Grijalva.
“People need to stay connected to one another and this is how we do it — thorough the vote.” But to maintain our commonality as a nation and people she said, we also must learn to “agree to disagree.”