PHOENIX — As Americans head to the polls, the NALEO Educational Fund estimates that 8.2 million Latinos nationwide had cast a ballot by October 31 and predicts the group’s initial projections that 14.6 million Latinos would vote in this year’s election.
“Like the population overall, Latinos are turning out to vote early in record numbers,” said NALEO Educational Fund CEO Arturo Vargas. “This election, with all its unprecedented dynamics, seems to have sparked a distinct urgency to participate in our democracy.”
There are an estimated 32 million eligible Latino voters in the U.S., according to Pew Research. The U.S. Elections Project said nearly 100 million Americans had voted in this year’s election by Monday afternoon.
The tally of Latinos who had voted by October 31 is double the number who had voted by this time in 2016, said Vargas, adding that 18- to 29-year-olds are “a driving force of this increased participation,” accounting for 20 percent of all Latino votes cast.
A voter survey released early Monday by NALEO and Latino Decisions found 69 percent of Latino voters planned to vote for the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, with 26 percent backing President Donald Trump. More than half of the survey’s respondents said worries about COVID-19 and 28 percent said the cost of healthcare were their two top concerns as they go to the polls.
Despite the record early voting results among Latinos, 76 percent of respondents said they planned to vote on Election Day.
In related news, Voto Latino announced it has registered 601,330 voters for the 2020 election cycle. Since 2012, Voto Latino has registered 1.1 million voters, the great majority of whom were Latinx.
“More than 23 million U.S. immigrants will be eligible to vote in the 2020 presidential election,” making up roughly 10% of the country’s total electorate, according to Pew.
Latino Candidates to Watch
The NALEO Educational Fund also reports that Latino candidates are running for elected office in 36 states. Some of the candidates could win in regions not normally thought of as Latino population centers, including the Plains States, the Midwest, the Deep South, and New England.
“Latino candidates are once again demonstrating an ability to compete all across the country,” Vargas said.
- The number of Latinos in the U.S. Senate could go from four to five if New Mexico House Member Ben Ray Luján, a Democrat, defeats TV meteorologist Mark Ronchetti, a Republican. None of the four Latino incumbent U.S. senators are up for re-election, which includes Catherine Cortez Masto, D-NV; Ted Cruz, R-TX; Robert Menendez, D-NJ; and Marco Rubio, R-FL.
- Six additional Latinos could join the U.S. House of Representatives. There are 39 Latino members in the House today.
- In California, the Latino candidates in tough races are Obama Administration official Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar who’s running in the 50th District against former U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican. In the 53rd Congressional District, San Diego City Council President Georgette Gomez, a Democrat, is running to fill an open seat against children’s advocate and fellow Democrat Sara Jacobs.
- In Indiana, Latina former State Assemblymember Christina Hale, a Democrat, in the 5th Congressional District could win an open-seat contest against former State Senator Victoria Spartz, a Republican. If she wins, Hale would be the first Latina to represent Indiana in the U.S. House.
- In Kansas, Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla, a Democrat, is in a tight race against State Treasurer Jake LaTurner, a Republican, in the 2nd Congressional District. If De La Isla wins, she would be the first Latina to represent Kansas in the U.S. House of Representatives.
- In New Mexico, attorney Teresa Leger Fernandez, a Democrat, is running against engineer Alexis Martinez Johnson, a Republican, in the 3rd Congressional District, the seat being vacated by Rep. Ray Luján.
- In New York, New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres, a Democrat, is facing Republican Patrick Delices in the 15th Congressional District. The seat is being vacated by retiring U.S. Rep. Jose Serrano, a Democrat.
- In Texas, Navy veteran and Republican Tony Gonzales is facing Filipina Air Force veteran Gina Ortiz Jones, a Democrat, in the 23rd Congressional District. In the state’s 24th Congressional District, another competitive race, former Carrollton-Farmers Branch School Board Member Candace Valenzuela, a Democrat, is running for an open seat race against former Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne, a Republican.
- Five Latinx candidates are running for statewide office in four states. Arizona Corporation Commissioner Lea Marquez Peterson, a Republican, Delaware Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro, a Democrat, and Utah’s Republican Attorney General Sean Reyes are all running as incumbents.
- Tolleson, AZ Mayor Anna Tovar, a Democrat, is running for one of three at-large seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission.
- In Washington, non-profit executive Maia Espinoza is battling to unseat incumbent Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal.
- The number of Latino state senators could go from 86 to 98 this year, including possible net gains in Arizona (3), California (3), Colorado (1), Connecticut (1), Georgia (1), Illinois (1), Massachusetts (1), Ohio (1), and Wyoming (1). Tennessee is slated to lose its only Latina state senator, Republican Dolores Gresham, who is retiring.
- In races in state lower chambers, Latinos could go from 243 to a net 254 seats.
- Texas may see the largest potential net gain (7), followed by Iowa, New Hampshire (2), New York (2), and Rhode Island (2).
- The following states could see a net increase of one Latino member: Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
- Arizona could see a net loss of three seats held by Latinos, while Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, and Vermont could all see a net decrease of one or two seats.
Voting Rights Working Group Condemns False Fraud Claims
In a statement issued Monday, the Voting Rights Working Group said: “There is no credible evidence of significant voter fraud in the United States in the last 50 years… This is true regardless of how long it takes for all votes cast to be counted and results finalized… [and] regardless of how many voters choose to cast their votes remotely by mail or drop-off… We should reject all allegations of ‘voter fraud’ that cannot overcome this long and incontrovertible history with substantial and verifiable evidence.”
The Voting Rights Working Group:
- Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles
- Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
- LatinoJustice PRLDEF
- Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
- MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund)
- Native American Rights Fund
- Southern Coalition for Social Justice
Futuro Media’s ITT Live Tonight
Join “In the Thick LIVE From Home” (a live podcast recording) tonight.
Co-hosts Maria Hinojosa, founder of Futuro Media, and Julio Ricardo Varela, founder and publisher of Latino Rebels, will be joined by “ITT All-Stars” for live election analysis and coverage from a people of color perspective.
The show begins at 6 p.m. EST, 5 p.m. Central, 3 p.m. PST. For more information and to register, click here.
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