Check this page for the Daily Lobo's updated testing and confirmed case data for the COVID-19 outbreak in New Mexico, thanks to the COVID Tracking Project. This page will be updated daily as more data is produced and reported.

With the 2020 general election less than two months away, time is running out for New Mexico voters to obtain absentee ballots.

On Aug. 28, New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced that voters can apply for absentee ballots through an online portal

New Mexico is a “no-excuse” absentee ballot state, meaning that any registered voter can obtain an absentee ballot. The deadline to register to vote, either online or by mail, is Oct. 6. 

The final day to get an absentee ballot is Oct. 20, and it is suggested that voters mail them back by Oct. 27.

In April — just one month into the COVID-19 stay-at-home order — 32% of UNM students reported experiencing food insecurity and almost 42% were unsure about their housing, according to a recent study conducted by the University of New Mexico’s Basic Needs Team. 

The team — comprised of researchers from a variety of departments and offices on campus — examined the rates of food and housing insecurity and how they are patterned across different demographic groups at UNM.

New Mexico households have the highest rate (16.8%) of food insecurity across the country, according to the study.

A group of 50 or so protesters in attendance at a Black New Mexico Movement (BNMM) rally held in Rio Rancho on Sept. 12 were met with hateful rhetoric from a large crowd of right-wing counter-protesters.

BNMM held the rally on the eve of the late rapper Tupac Shakur’s murder “to call for the same changes Tupac called for many years ago,” according to the Facebook event page, a reference to Shakur’s activism against racism and police bruality. Organizers encouraged attendees to register to vote, fill out the census and keep working toward racial justice.

Great American Outdoors Act: ‘A big damn deal’

On Aug. 4, after waiting several months for a proposal from Congress, President Donald Trump signed into law the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), giving nearly a billion dollars a year in the process to wilderness conservation and park construction projects across the country.

“The Great American Outdoors Act provides $900 million a year in guaranteed funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund so that all Americans can continue to enjoy our parks and wildlife refuges,” according to a White House briefing.

New Mexico stands to benefit greatly from the legislation, given that the state is home to two national parks and a number of wilderness areas.

UNM’s desert oasis a costly endeavor

The seven hundred and sixty-nine acres that span the University of New Mexico campus are predominantly covered in grass — an odd sight, given the college’s high desert locale. Water, a precious commodity that is increasingly lacking in supply and high in demand, flows freely on UNM’s grounds — and according to the administration, isn’t a cost that is easily tabulated.

Norma Allen, the director of the University’s budget operations, said that UNM’s Facilities Management department receives a $1.9 million budget for the grounds.

Facilities Management said that its system isn’t currently set up to monitor the water usage on campus, and because of this isn’t able to peg down the exact cost.

UNM Athletics spared the brunt of COVID infections in college sporting scene

So far this semester, University of New Mexico Athletics has been spared any major COVID-19 outbreaks, as the program adheres to NCAA and Mountain West Conference guidelines.

UNM Athletics director Eddie Nuñez told the Daily Lobo on Aug. 28 that the University is complying with the college sporting body’s stringent regulations, but that hasn’t prevented at least 11 UNM athletes, staffers and/or coaches from testing positive for the virus as of the end of August.

These cases are not unique in the wider college athletics landscape. As of the beginning of August, “at least 800 college football players have tested positive for the virus nationwide,” according to Sports Illustrated. However, they warned that “the actual number is likely much higher.”

Former UNM football coach son's murder remains unsolved

Mike Locksley, whose brief tenure as the University of New Mexico’s head football coach ended in 2011, and his wife Kia held a joint press conference with the Howard County Police Department on Sept. 3 to announce renewed efforts in the pursuit of knowledge about the murder of Locksley’s son Meiko.

The day marked the three-year anniversary of Meiko Locksley’s murder. The 25-year-old was shot once in the chest on the 5500 block of Harpers Farm Road in Columbia, Md. He was later pronounced dead at the University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma Center.

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