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A "My Vote Center" for students and locals to vote is located at the UNM Student Union Building.

UNM students highlight vote-determining issues in midterm elections

Students at the University of New Mexico shared their opinions on the upcoming New Mexico elections and what they expect from electing officials and the legislature. Many agreed that it is important to hold officials to a high standard and expect transparency from those in the state legislature.

Concerns over how city and state policies don’t always benefit the public as much as politicians claim were felt by Zee Winningham. They also expressed that subsidized housing for people struggling with homelessness should take precedence over standard institutionalized facilities.

“What substance abuse programs are going to be funded, and how exactly are the funds going to be used for the homeless population?” Winningham said.

Rhoann McMaster wants to see a change in the way that bills are written — one that makes it easier for everyone to understand, not just politicians.

“We have to know more, not just the general summary. There also needs to be proof of an outcome for it,” McMaster said.

Protecting safe health care for women, including access to abortion and contraceptives, is a contentious topic in the upcoming election. Yulene Hernandez said that not having access to abortions won’t stop them from happening, but the ban will increase the chances of severe bodily harm.

“It’s up to the woman to decide what to do with her body. I think that’s pretty reasonable,” Hernandez said.

Concerns over the cascading effects on LGBTQ+ rights that could be felt if restrictions on healthcare are put into place in the state is another fear for Winningham. This has influenced their vote away from Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Ronchetti, who said he would restrict abortion access.

“There are a lot of people who will actively be harmed by Mark Ronchetti and that general crowd,” Winningham said.

The majority of students interviewed said they want to see more empathy for people of all backgrounds who reside in the state of New Mexico. Hernandez said it seems that politicians recently have been more concerned with economic impacts rather than what would be beneficial to their constituents. This includes issues like improved transportation, housing and healthcare.

“I want someone who cares what other people think and actually goes through with what they're advocating for,” Hernandez said. 

Cyrrene Giaccardo is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @dailylobo

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