Political Science Professor Lonna Atkeson will receive the "Jack Taylor Award" from Common Cause New Mexico, Saturday, Oct. 16, at the organization's 40th anniversary luncheon to be held at the UNM Continuing Education Building, 1634 University Boulevard NE from 12 to 2 p.m.

Atkeson, a professor and Regents' Lecturer at UNM, will be honored for her important research explaining how New Mexicans understand the process behind elections in the state, and the confidence that voters have in the election process in New Mexico. These factors then influence how the general public in New Mexico and the Southwest perceive these elections, whether or not they are fair.

"Our goal is to provide a systematic, data-driven approach to election administration," Atkeson said. "Only through a systematic examination of the electoral process can we improve and reform it."

Before her work as a professor, Atkeson worked for a political polling firm, experience that differed from her research, but educated her on how research is applied in the "real political world." That, in turn, influences how she conducts her academic work.

"One thing I also learned is that elections take up all your time when they're happening," Atkeson said in a recent Common Cause New Mexico newsletter. "You're working 18-hour days in many cases. It becomes all-consuming."

Members of the UNM community are encouraged to attend the Common Cause luncheon, where Atkeson will also be the keynote speaker. The event is $20 and includes a catered lunch. People are asked to RSVP by Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 11 a.m. at the following website: www.commoncause.org/NM/40

Media Contact: Benson Hendrix, (505) 277.1816, E-Mail: bhendrix@unm.edu