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A Report From the West Side Polls

By Tracy Dingmann

Election Day 2010 has been relatively quiet so far, says University of New Mexico political science professor Lonna Atkeson.

We ran into Atkeson at Lavaland Elementary on the city’s West Side. Atkeson, who is director of UNM’s Center for the Study of Voting, Elections and Democracy, was there to observe voting behavior as part of her work with the Center.

Atkeson said she’s visited a number of precinct sites today and hasn’t seen anyone from the Tea Party at any of them.

The only small glitch Atkeson said she’s seen is that some poll workers are still mistakenly telling folks they need to show ID.

“I’ve seen a lot of variation in what they’re asking for in terms of voter ID,” Atkeson said. “There’s nothing going on, there is just a lot of inconsistency.”

That’s the bad news. The good news is that whenever that happens, other poll workers are quick to correct it. And there are no other major violations going on, she said.

That’s mainly due to the excellent training poll workers are getting in Bernalillo County from County Clerk Maggie Toulouse.

Atkeson, who said she has observed elections and election training for many years in Bernalillo County, said she’s been very impressed with the quality of the training offered by the county. She said she couldn’t speak to training offered in other counties, because she hasn’t personally observed it.

Atkeson characterized the turnout she’s seen as “steady” and noted that voting is always down on midterm elections.

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