Young Hispanic Voters Want Proof

Photo: Courtesy of New America Media
Photo: Courtesy of New America Media

Coachella—Young Hispanic voters are on track to double the Hispanic electorate in the next two decades. This means the number of eligible Hispanic voters could grow from 23 million to 40 million before 2030.

This year, Hispanics make up 10 percent of all voters. But that percentage could quickly increase as more young Hispanics become age-eligible to vote. Every year, 800,000 Latinos turn 18, according to the Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends Project.

The increase of eligible Hispanic youth means more leverage for the Hispanic electorate. Several major news outlets already predict that any 2016 presidential candidate needs to court the rapidly growing Hispanic electorate if he or she wants to end up in the White House.

But the key to effectively engaging with young Hispanic voters is getting to know their motivations and what the young voters look for in potential candidates.

In light of the growing power of the young Hispanic electorate, Coachella Unincorporated interviewed several young Hispanic voters from the Coachella Valley to ask them what is their motivation for voting and what criteria they use to choose which candidates and ballot measures to vote for. The young voters we interviewed said they voted for a candidate based on the candidate’s community involvement and the candidate’s record of getting work done. Though many of the young people admitted to voting mostly along the Democratic Party line, the young people stated that they value a candidate’s track record more than their political party affiliation.

See the rest of the young voters’ answers below.

Why did you vote in the midterm election?

“It was my responsibility. And there is increased pressure from the media for Latino youth to vote. There were several important issues concerning my community that were important to me, like Proposition 1 and Proposition 47.”

 Edith Gonzales — 22, North Shore, Calif.

 “It’s my duty as an American citizen.”

 Nicolas Rodriguez — 22, Mecca, Calif.

“I voted because I believe that midterm elections carry as much importance as elections in a presidential year. There were many candidates and propositions on the ballot this year that are going to make a big difference, and I wanted to be a part of that process. I know that there are a lot of people who say that they care about the community, but those people don’t even vote. I didn’t want to be one of those people.”

 Ivan Valenzuela — 21, Indio, Calif.

“Every election is equally as important. Voting is part of our duty as the new generation to create change.”

 Sahara Huazano — 23, Mecca, Calif.

“I chose to vote in the midterm elections because I know how important every single vote is. Midterm elections can be extra tough because a lot of people don’t see it as important. But in fact, it matters more. Midterm elections vote for your city candidates directly and every single vote is counted.”

 Natalia Cervantes — 19, La Quinta, Calif.

 Which candidates did you vote for? And why?

“I voted for elected officials who would represent my community and who have demonstrated that they will take the extra mile to improve the living quality of my community disregarding race, ethnicity and political affiliation. For the congressional race I voted for Dr. Raul Ruiz because he has demonstrated the capacity to create change in our community. Ruiz also reached out to the Hispanic community. His entire campaign was run by young, college graduates from the Coachella Valley, and primarily, his volunteers were comprised of high schools students from Desert Mirage, Coachella Valley High School, Indio High School and other schools.”

 Sahara Huazano — 23, Mecca, Calif.

“I voted for Raul Ruiz, because in the two years he’s been in congress, as short as that seems, he’s shown that he cares about the community. Especially in Coachella, where the community has many groups, including veterans, seniors, and Hispanics, he has done well in giving his attention to everybody that needs it.”

Ivan Valenzuela — 21, Indio, Calif.

“I voted for Raul Ruiz and Bonnie Garcia, because they appealed to my beliefs more than their opponents. Both candidates reached out to the Hispanic community through social media and in-person.”

Nicolas Rodriguez — 22, Mecca, Calif.

“For La Quinta City Mayor, I voted for Linda Evans because I feel the city could use a woman’s voice. The current mayor, Don Adolph, is a great man, and has done many great things for us. But it’s time for a fresh face, and it’s time to give new opportunities. I also vote for Congressman Raul Ruiz in his re-election against Brian Nestande. Congressman Ruiz has voted pass party lines before, and that’s okay, because it shows that he is not one sighted for the Democrat Party, but he can see potential in some of the Republican Party’s views. Congressman Ruiz has also made it a priority to get out the vote to every possible voter.”

 Natalia Cervantes — 19, La Quinta, Calif.

 How do you decide which candidate or ballot measure to vote for?

“I vote based on a candidate’s agenda, background, past and current involvement in the community that they claim to serve, the people who they are supported by, and based on their previous and current funders. I do not vote based on political affiliation. Their affiliation is not what determines my vote. I first see the issues that they will be capable to moving and the overall theme of the political affiliations, and I see if there is a possible movement towards the right direction.”

 Sahara Huazano — 23, Mecca, Calif.

“I vote for the Democratic Party because they are the party that closely aligns with my views. But that doesn’t mean I will always vote for the Democratic Party. If a Republican candidate shows better potential than a Democratic one, I will vote for the better candidate.”

Natalia Cervantes — 19, La Quinta, Calif.

“I usually swing between the Democratic Party, the Green Party or the Independent Party. I’ll usually read ahead of time the informational booklet mailed to us, and I look up peoples’ backgrounds online to understand where they are coming from. It’s also very important for me to look up the ballot measures that are huge and that will influence all Californians.”

Edith Gonzales — 22, North Shore, Calif.

“I vote based on the candidates’ beliefs and which of them I agree with more. I don’t vote along party lines. Of the two giants in the political spectrum, I feel both are far from what my views are, but I do believe Democrats are the better of the two evils most of the time.”

Nicolas Rodriguez — 22, Mecca, Calif.

“Before I vote, I look at the candidates’ plans for the city. But it’s still hard to tell because the candidates’ plans almost never pan out. There’s so much influence that they’re susceptible to from business and donors, so it’s almost mostly voting out of faith. I voted with liberalism in mind, but I don’t know if that’s like saying that I voted with the Democratic Party. I’m registered as a Green Party member, but all of the candidates and propositions that I voted for are associated with the Democratic Party.”

Ivan Valenzuela — 21, Indio, Calif.

Is it important for young Hispanics to vote?

“It’s incredibly important for young Hispanics to vote because we are the new face of America; we make America run. We are the ones who could possibly hold the power to turn votes around just because our numbers have increased over time. The power we have, as a whole, is immense. I just wished we all new that.”

Sahara Huazano — 23, Mecca, Calif.

“It’s important for young Hispanics to vote because we don’t have many voices to speak for us. If we want change, we have to speak and mobilize as a group and organize plans to make a difference.”

 Ivan Valenzuela — 21, Indio, Calif.

“We need to get our voices heard in American politics.”

 Nicolas Rodriguez — 22, Mecca, Calif.

“It’s super important for young Latinos to vote because it allows for some form of representation of their position on issues and people to take place. Voting also allows us to influence policies, measures and which reforms pass or not.”

Edith Gonzales — 22, North Shore, Calif. 

“It is extremely important that young Hispanics get out and vote. The attitudes of, “I don’t vote because the government is corrupt,” or, “I don’t vote because my vote doesn’t matter anyways,” will have a negative effect on American politics if they continue. Minority voices need to be heard. So vote.”

Natalia Cervantes — 19, La Quinta, Calif.

 

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