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It sounds like there certainly was a lack of preparation on the part of the polling station staff in Chaparral, but I think it is remiss to attribute this lack of preparedness to the sole issue of the race of the polling station staff. Ms. Johnson's remarks are divisive and reductive at best and most importantly non-productive, in this reader's opinion. Perhaps a greater challenge would be to replace such knee-jerk responses with a well thought out analysis of the structure and system in Chaparral (and across the nation or globe) that promotes unequal access. I think the actions of the volunteers were diminished by these remarks.


I've gone to, and worked in, Chaparral in two different capacities. The Hispanic population is large and divided between citizens and non-citizens with the right to vote.

Chaparral would have a much better opportunity to make badly needed improvements to its infrastructure if the residents were allowed a free chance to speak their minds via voting. (Every time I entered this community, especially during windy spring and hot summer months, I feared a badly aimed cigarette lighting up the brush and weeds. While more and more site-built homes are evident, the huge majority of the homes are still mobile homes, which burn very quickly.)

For Holmes to deny the existence of any polling place problems on Election Day is disingenuous at best, deceptive at worst. It's also wrong to threaten arresting community organizers who were trying to give comfort and assistance to voters when Gov. Martinez was lauded for doing the same in a northern county. (If the community organizers were threatened with arrest, perhaps Martinez should have been, as well.)

Why are differing standards being applied to the two situations? That's the question.


Just another reason for Otero County to cede Chaparral to Dona Ana County.

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Milan Simonich writes about New Mexico politics and government from the Santa Fe Bureau for the Texas-New Mexico Newspapers Partnership.

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