Mic: Latinx voters might be the most misunderstood demographic in the country

Political and grassroots organizations have been connecting with Latinx voters in these states, where the Latinx communities are growing yet still suffer from under representation. Given that candidates and campaigns aren’t messaging to Latinx voters, organizations like the Progressive Turnout Project (PTP) have dedicated their efforts to reaching out directly to them and getting them to the polls. PTP recognized that Latinx voters were eager to make their voices heard, but didn’t know how to gain a foothold in the political system.

Some estimates say that every 30 seconds, a Latinx person turns 18 and becomes able to cast a ballot — that’s a lot of first-time voters.

“It’s really exciting to be having these critical one-on-one conversations,” says Stephanie Medina, the Latinx engagement coordinator for PTP. Medina tells Mic that the organization’s field representatives have had 5.5 million phone calls with Latino and Latinx voters in 20 battleground states. In these calls, PTP tries to demystify the patchwork of voting rules across the country. Every state has different election laws on the books, including their own voter registration deadlines and specific rules about online registration or what kind of ID is needed in order to cast a ballot. The process can be difficult to navigate no matter what, but for first-time voters, first-generation voters, and voters for whom English is a second language, the whole process can disincentivize voting. Some estimates say that every 30 seconds, a Latinx person turns 18 and becomes able to cast a ballot — that’s a lot of first-time voters.

One-on-one outreach is especially effective in times when assumptions about voters — what issues they care about or whom they plan to vote for — are applied broadly to ethnic and racial groups of Americans. The Democratic Party’s neglect of Latinx and Hispanic voters is largely due to an assumption that they would be repelled by President Trump’s racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric, as well as his abhorrent handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately harmed Latinx people. Yet 30% of Latinx and Hispanic voters plan to support the president in the general election and 40% identify as moderate, according to Voto Latino.

“It’s very clear that Latino voters across the country are not a monolith,” Medina says.

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