New Mexico Secretary of State reports as of 5 p.m: 571,787 New Mexicans have voted.
As of midday, voters have been turning out all over Taos County to cast their ballots in the 2018 general election Tuesday (Nov. 6).
In Red River, it had been a pretty quiet morning as winds picked up. Sally Gonzales was one of three poll workers. She said 130 people had voted as of midday, dropping by in groups of five to seven at a time. After nearly two decades working the polls, Gonzales said she's hoping they can reach 250 voters by the end of the day.
The five people The Taos News spoke to at Red River this morning are all voting to re-elect Jerry Hogrefe as sheriff. Hogrefe was the former marshall of Red River and is well-known in the small community.
Polling places at the Talpa Community Center saw a slow but steady trickle of voters coming out to cast their ballots as of midday Tuesday.
Virginia Saporta, who moved to nearby Ranchos de Taos two years ago with her husband, said she feels well-represented as a Democrat in New Mexico. The couple plans to vote for Sheriff Hogrefe for re-election. They spoke less than a block away from a fatal shooting that took place in late October, but believe Hogrefe is still the right choice to run the office. In the gubernatorial race, the couple are firm in their decision to vote for Michelle Lujan Grisham for governor, "the only qualified candidate," they said.
An American Flag fluttered on a flagpole above the entrance to the polls at Ranchos Elementary down the road, where a slightly larger stream of voters had arrived to cast their ballots.
Even as he prepared to walk into the polls, Ken Swengel, a local contractor who lives near Taos Regional Airport, said he was on the fence as to who should be elected sheriff.
"Jani (Davis) is running against him (Jerry Hogrefe) as a Republican," Swengel said, "but I know that most of her views are pretty liberal, so maybe she's fiscally conservative and socially liberal, which I like. So I don't know." He laughs. "I'm going to make up my mind right at the moment because I'm kind of torn."
Voter turnout in El Prado and Taos Pueblo saw a steady stream of voters into the polls with Taos Pueblo reporting over 100 ballots cast before noon. Poll workers said they had voters in nearly every hour since 7 a.m. when the polls opened.
“I honestly want to keep the Democrats in; that's what i was kind of going for,” said Taos County voter Evan Trujillo. "I go by more of their views. I do believe in some of the Republican party too, just right now we need more diversity and the Democratic party will allow that in the time being.”
Despite his Democratic vote, Trujillo said he was in support of Republican Jani Davis for the sheriff’s race.
In El Prado, some voters admitted to seeking a Democratic-centered race due to national politics as well as the current state of affairs as they saw them. While many focused primarily on local events, some voters were strictly headed to the polls to try and change the political conversation on the national level.
“I think the national ticket is what interested me the most,” said Taos County resident Warren Spehar. “I think the controversy over the present occupant of the White House causes me a lot of concern. I think the character of the man really doesn’t measure up to what we expect of the man who occupies the first office of the land.”
In Questa, 157 people voted by midday between the two precincts. Early voting in Questa had seen a total of 366 people turn out.
Flavio Cisneros, longtime poll worker in Questa, said, "We'll get them (voters) after 5 p.m."
Ruben Maes of Questa votes every election and today is no different. There's no race that's getting him to the polls today, especially because he thought Michelle Lujan-Grisham will easily take the governor's office.
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