It was with some trepidation that I set out to make photographs of early election voting sites in and within striking distance of Santa Fe. So fraught with anxiety is this election that I anticipated that tensions would run high as people who were normally isolated in their political bubbles—and avoiding potential COVID infection—were coming together to perform a decidedly political act. But almost without exception, the people I found in lines at sites in Santa Fe, Española, Santa Cruz, Las Vegas, Los Alamos and Albuquerque were civil to a degree suggesting that they had shared my apprehension and were determined to behave politely.

It’s so easy to rant and rave and to demonize the “other,” when seated in front of a computer monitor or hunched over a cell phone. It occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, our diverse and polarized society may yet find a way to replace the blaring media discourse of mistrust and hate with civil dialogue. Election day will tell.

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Don J. Usner

Don J. Usner was born in Embudo, N.M., and has written and provided photos for several books, including The Natural History of Big Sur; Sabino’s Map: Life in Chimayó’s Old Plaza;...