by Michael Kelley
November 10, 2020
The atmosphere seemed a little dicey at the time, and members of Indivisible Santa Feand RepresentUs New Mexico and like-minded folks were compelled to respond to threats of actions to disrupt and delegitimize America’s most sacred institution – the election process.
So plans were made, and signs were printed, and cars were festooned with ribbons and banners and messages of the moment making it clear that, despite efforts to close the books on the 2020 presidential election before all the votes were tallied, the counting must continue.
The event went off without a hitch. About 65 cars pulled onto a grassy area at the Santa Fe rodeo grounds on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon, the day after the election, and more than 100 worried New Mexicans assembled to voice their concerns about the imminent danger to American democracy. The vehicles were decorated with U.S, flags, red white and blue streamers and papered with “Count the Vote”, “Protect the Results” and other similar slogans affirming determined insistence on completion of this most important of our democratic processes. This being an American event, no partisan banners or signs were allowed.
With Indivisible’s Josh Rappaport serving as MC, minister Gail Lindsay Marriner of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Santa Fe, reflecting on her just-turned-18 twins’ first trip to the polls as voters, described voting as a sacred responsibility. Barron Jones, the American Civil Liberty Union of New Mexico’s senior policy strategist, spoke about his organization’s role in the process.
A reporter for KOAT television sought out RepresentUs New Mexico President John House to put it all in perspective. “Unfortunately, right now we have forces in this country that are trying to prevent people from voting and prevent some people’s votes from being counted,” House said. The spread of disinformation preceding the election was “undemocratic,” he added. “It’s un-American. It’s people trying to keep power. No matter who wins, it’s the process that keeps this country a democracy.”
“If it’s Republicans or Independents or Democrats, it doesn’t matter,” the indefatigable lead organizer Donna Thiersche of Indivisible Santa Fe told the reporter. “Count everybody’s vote is what we’re concerned about.”
Finally, in a well-organized and orderly fashion, the cars filed out of the rodeo grounds, paraded west on Rodeo Road, streamed up Cerrillos to The Plaza, wound their way around the narrow streets of downtown Santa Fe, circled over to the PERA building, and parted ways.
No serious harassment was reported. Instead, paraders were welcomed with thumbs ups, waves and shouts of affirmation. The participants were buoyed by the fact that they could still voice their opinions without fear of retribution.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t long before they got a reminder that their work would not be over any time soon. By Friday, the President’s campaign legal team announced that it would instigate litigation in several states challenging the counting process in several states. And early this week Attorney General William Barr issued a memo authorizing the DOJ lawyers to prosecute voter fraud cases based on “clear and credible allegations.” So far, no “clear and credible” proof of such allegations has emerged. Fortunately, the counting would continue without pause. Still, the fight to have all the votes counted and the true results of the election process legitimized goes on.