Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

North Carolina’s Latino population is growing — but not its recent voter turnout

By 37ci3 Jul4,2024



WAKE COUNTY, NC – When Josahandy Avila thinks about the 2024 presidential race, the word “excitement” doesn’t come to mind.

As a first-generation Mexican American, her family is directly affected by state and federal immigration laws, and she is concerned about reproductive rights. But on the presidential level, he’s still undecided — he’s leaning toward President Joe Biden but is potentially open to a third-party ticket.

“I think they’re just trying to give us what we want to hear,” both Biden and Donald Trump said. “None of them talk about issues that are very important to us. It’s not just immigration, but other things like education, health, the economy.

As Democrats look to turn North Carolina into a presidential victory column for the first time since 2008, Latinos like Avila will be a key, but increasingly difficult, factor.

The state has a Latino population increased by 40% in the last ten years – the the biggest increase from any other racial or ethnic group in the state. And Latinos make up more than 1.1 million residents – 290 thousand of them are registered voters — in a state where Trump won less 75,000 Voices in 2020.

But getting them to the voting booth may be more difficult than ever this year. Latino voter turnout actually decreased in 2022 after raising the last two midterms. Turnout in the most recent primary was even worse less than 8% Number of Hispanic voters compared to about 30% of non-Hispanic voters.

Nikki Marín is the co-founder and co-director of Baena Siembra NC, a grassroots political organization in Greensboro focused on progressive issues and candidates. The organization registered 3,200 Latino voters this year and aims to reach 5,000 by the election.

He estimates that canvassers on his team talked to about 10,000 voters to reach that number, which they did by going to flea markets, popularly known as “mercado de pulgas,” as well as five malls, gyms and grocery stores. states with large Latino populations.

“One of the things I told the staff over and over again is that this election is not between Biden and Trump. This election is between Biden and Trump and the couch,” Marin Baena said. “And the couch seems like a really good option for a lot of people right now.”

His organization also focuses on hyper-local issues that they believe affect people outside of election cycles, such as labor rights and wage theft. One reason: He believes Latino voters in the state are less engaged in politics at the federal level this year.

“In 2020, the last presidential election, I think it became clearer to people what we were up against and what the choice was and how the two candidates differed. I think it all felt more acute,” said Marín Baena. “I think people forgot about 2020 a little bit, and I think the constant news we got made it all come together so that people between 2020 they won’t be able to see that much difference between the two candidates.”

For Gema, a 20-year-old Wake County resident who declined to give her last name, the most important issues in this election are reproductive rights, an increase in complaints. book bans in the state and a potential ban On TikTok in the US

He is also not sure if he is registered to vote.

“Honestly, I don’t even know who I’m going to vote for because there’s something unusual about it, no matter which way you go,” Gema said.

as one 7 mln Latino residents between the ages of 18 and 24 in the state, he’s not alone. Recently national survey The Brookings Institution found that while young Latino voters are more likely to support Democratic candidates, 37% of those under 30 said Biden and the Democrats “don’t care about the Latino community.”

It’s a frustration state Republicans hope to capitalize on. Though just 2% Sandy Moyer, National Hispanic Campaign Director for the 2023 Hispanic Republicans of North Carolina, said the party’s messaging on economic issues and inflation, particularly when it comes to gas, grocery and home ownership prices, resonates with the public.

“What are people doing right now? They rent the houses. Well, many of these Spaniards, what is the American dream? To have a home,” Moyer said. “These are the things we talk to them about and they say, ‘No, we have a big problem.’ “The rental market is actually on the rise, but the housing market is not.”

NBC News also reached out to the state’s Democratic Party, which said they are investing in the state’s Latino community earlier than ever, adding in part:

“While Trump has overseen a 47% increase in Latino unemployment and sought to increase our health care costs, President Biden has helped our Latino communities, created more than 400,000 good-paying jobs in our state and expanded access to affordable health care for more than 600,000 North Carolinians.”

They also pointed to the number seven campaign advertising It is specially designed for Latin Americans watching the Copa America tournament. The spot will air in several battleground states, including North Carolina, which will host a July 10 tournament game in Charlotte, they said.

Meanwhile, Geman’s mother, Zaza, in Wake County, who declined to give her last name, said she plans to vote this year because she feels it’s her responsibility as an American citizen, even though she worries that both candidates are too old.

“Because it will make a difference,” he said in Spanish. “Poquito, pero una diferencia” – “a little, but a difference.”



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