Telemundo Correspondent Cristina Londoño on Covering the Presidential Election
The senior Washington, D.C. correspondent explains what it's been like reporting the news in an unprecedented year.
Between the coronavirus pandemic and the presidential election, this has been a year unlike any other in the United States when it comes to following and covering the news. This is true even for veteran journalists like Telemundo's senior Washington, D.C. correspondent Cristina Londoño, who has been reporting on elections since 1992. "It's been totally different," she tells People CHICA. "We thought people were going to be scared of going out and talking, but if you look at the voter turnout, people are more in tune with what's happening politically than I've ever seen before. Maybe because they're home, or maybe because they feel that this time around, politics has a direct impact on their lives — whichever way the election goes."
Despite stay-at-home orders and mask mandates, voters have shown up in record-breaking numbers for early voting, even in the midst of a pandemic. "I don't think anybody has ever seen anything like this," says Londoño. "November 3 is looking like the end of the voting. It's no longer Election Day, it's been an Election Week. Everybody's standing in line with masks and they're waiting and they're hanging out for hours and they want to be heard. I've never seen lines like this on any day other than Election Day, and now you're seeing them all over the country. People are patient and they're not complaining. They just want to get their votes in, and they want to have their voices heard."
Londoño has also noticed more young people coming out to vote than she's seen in the past, as well as more Latinos, who make up the second-largest voting group this year (behind non-Latino white voters). "I think we're going to see a record-breaking turnout," she says of Latino voters. "We are the largest minority, and I've seen the engagement — I really have. We used to stand out for not turning out as much, and I think this time we could change the tide. Latinos are very involved. Another great thing that's happening right now is that young Latinos are very in tune to their environment and to everything that's happening around them, and again, they want to make their voices heard."
Even with potentially record turnout, there's still a decent chance that results will not arrive on Tuesday night given the huge numbers of mail-in ballots that will need to be counted. Londoño isn't worried about the safety of those ballots, though, despite the president's repeated claims that mail-in voting is a source of fraud (it isn't). "There's been a narrative that there could be a fraud and that there could be a problem with mail-in ballots, but if you listen to all the experts and if you listen to national security, they see no reason why we should mistrust or doubt the electoral process," she says. "We could have results that take a little bit longer to come in because of the amount of people that have decided to vote by mail. ... We might not have results the day of, but I'm not concerned."
On Election Day, Telemundo will have multi-platform coverage starting at 7 a.m. ET and running until 3 a.m. ET on Wednesday morning. "We have an amazing coverage plan," says Londoño. "People can follow us on their TV, their tablet, their phone. We're all going to be stationed in different parts of the country with different angles. ... However long the coverage takes us, it's going to be exciting. We are very aware that we're covering history and we're stepping up to the plate. We're going to cover it the way our people deserve for us to cover it. Giving them the best information. Not running to call results unless we are 100 percent sure of what we're doing and what we're saying. Just being very responsible because we know it's a sensitive night. We know it's important. We know it's history, and we just want it written right."