New Mexico This Week

News Roundup from around the state for the week of October 25-29, 2020.


GOP Election Lawsuit in NM 

Headed by Chairman Steve Pearce, the New Mexico Republican Party filed a petition with the New Mexico Supreme Court this Monday claiming that clerks under NM secretary of state Mary Toulouse Oliver were allowing people to vote by absentee ballots with inadequate identification. The GOP petition stated that their poll watchers must have access to a list of SSNs in order to crosscheck identities “and they must be allowed to reject ballots and interpose challenges on the basis of incorrect voter identification information.” The New Mexico Supreme Court denied this petition on Tuesday, causing the NM GOP to file a lawsuit in state district court accusing Toulouse Oliver and county clerks in Taos and Guadalupe counties of not properly monitoring boxes for absentee ballots. The lawsuit alleges that the boxes were left open, allowing for the possibility of voter fraud, an issue President Trump has emphasized in the runup to the 2020 election. The lawsuit asks for the constant monitoring of these boxes by bipartisan officials or the discontinuation of these boxes, a major wall to voting for many who feel it is unsafe to go in person. More information regarding the legal action can be found at NM Political Report.

Snow Storm Aids in Fight Against Luna Fire Near Taos

Heavy snowfall across New Mexico this past week has helped with more than just cooling the temperature down.  In the northern part of the state, southeast of Taos, the Luna fire has been raging since Saturday, October 17th.  When snow fell in the area Monday, October 26th and Tuesday, October 27th, it gave firefighters a much needed reprieve.  Although the fire is still burning, it has been 27%  contained, and it should not continue to grow.   Because it has been so dry, the snow is not expected to completely stop the fire, but it has definitely helped. All road blocks in the area  have been lifted, and the optional evacuation order for Luna Canyon has also ended.  As of right now, the cause of the fire is still unknown, but authorities are investigating.

Meow Wolf Workers Collective Vote to Unionize

Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Meow Wolf Workers Collective voted to unionize Monday, Oct. 15, as reported by the Santa Fe New Mexican. The collective represents the 270 Meow Wolf employees at their Santa Fe location. A spokesman for the collective, Bill Rodgers explains that, “Pay equity, diversity and inclusion are the tent poles for the Meow Wolf Workers Collective.   We have worked with and sacrificed with the company in order to bring our art into the world. We now seek a new way of doing things. … Without a contract that represents the democratic will of Meow Wolf employees, there can be no guarantee that the things the company promises today will be there tomorrow. We have been patient and gracious with the company’s changing needs and now is the time for them to recognize ours.” Company CEO’s, in a prepared statement, said, “This process has created valuable discussion within the company and Meow Wolf appreciates the varying points of view brought forward from the different perspectives within the bargaining unit and looks forward to working together with the CWA, AFL-CIO and Meow Wolf Workers Collective on policies and practices that will continue to ensure Meow Wolf is a great place to work.”

Republican faces uphill fight in Northern New Mexico

In Northern New Mexico, many of the Republican candidates have their work cut out for them.  Alexis Martinez Johnson, the republican candidate for the 3rd congressional seat, has received very limited funding in comparison to her opponent Teresa Leger Fernandez, the highly favored democrat.  With that said, Johnson touches on some policies that members of the community are favorable to.  In a highly Catholic area, Johnson is strongly opposed to abortion, which should win her some votes.  In addition, Johnson advocates strongly for an increase in police numbers, to help with border control along with stopping drugs, crime, and addiction in our cities.  Although many people agree with the policies she is advocating for, it is still unlikely she will win.  Fernandez has received an ample amount of financial support compared to Johnson, and pollsters are strongly predicting Fernandez to win.