An important part of Latino culture is tradition, and in recent years, there has been a push to make voting another important cultural custom.
Every election season, the Latino vote is a term that is discussed, but what does that mean? Is the Latino vote a sleeping giant?
In this episode of KSAT Explains, we compare the “red and blue” of Latino politics, break down common misconceptions, and discuss the emerging wave of more Latinos making their voices heard.
The Big Picture
According to Pew Research Center, “An estimated 34.5 million Hispanic Americans are eligible to vote this year, making Latinos the fastest-growing racial and ethnic group in the U.S. electorate since the last midterm elections.”
An estimated 6.2 million of those eligible voters are right here in Texas.
The population of Hispanic Americans increased by 1,980,796 between 2010 and 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
According to Pew Research, a little over half of Latino voters say they would vote blue in their district’s U.S. House of Representatives race. Less than 30% say the Republican candidate has their vote, and nearly one-in-five Latino voters say they aren’t sure which candidate they would vote for.
The data shows the economy is top of mind for the majority of Latino voters, followed by health care, education, and violent crime prevention.
A Small Comparison
“Hispanic eligible voters tend to be younger than eligible voters overall, and they differ from the broader electorate in other ways, too.” - Pew Research Center
KSAT’s Alicia Barrera met up with two young Latino voters to get their perspectives on voting.
Beni Resendiz and Jacqueline Baldozo are San Antonio natives, both sharing the same city nearly their entire lives, but have very different backgrounds and perspectives on some things.
Resendiz, a student at the University of Incarnate Word, identifies as a moderate Republican voter. He grew up in the Alamo Heights area.
Baldozo, a senior at Our Lady of the Lake University, identifies as a democratic voter. She grew up on the city’s south side, near Nogalitos street.
According to Data USA, Alamo Heights (78209) is one of the wealthiest areas of the city with a median household income of more than $147,000.
Data shows Palm Heights (78225) on the south side is one of the poorest areas of San Antonio with a median income of about $63,000. This is where Baldozo grew up.
“We were watching the news, and we’re seeing that people in Alamo Heights were getting brand new iPads for every one of their students. Every classroom had a Promethean board, while my classroom didn’t even have an air conditioner,” says Baldozo.
Come November 8th, both young adults will cast their vote...guided by their own experiences.
Resendiz is a first-generation Mexican-American raised by his mother and grandmother.
“When they moved here to the states in the eighties, they were here undocumented. And due to President Reagan’s amnesty, they became legal citizens. So they have forever been grateful to President Reagan and the Republican Party for making them citizens,” says Resendiz.
He proudly carries on that legacy into this upcoming election.
“I just feel like their message on economic values [and] social responsibility goes with my Hispanic values as well as being responsible and providing for your family,” says Resendiz.
While their views are different, both Latinos agree neither political party truly understands the Latino vote just yet.
Resendiz says, “I think Latinos, along with any other minority, don’t want to be tokenized. We want to be talked to as if you were talking to white people.”
“I believe that many Hispanic voters have been hesitant to vote because they felt as if their voting doesn’t matter...as if their vote doesn’t count,” says Baldozo.
Pushing For Change
KSAT’s RJ Marquez met up with one local man who used to carry the belief that the Latino vote doesn’t matter.
Stephen Delgado didn’t cast his first vote until the age of 30.
But today, Delgado is a licensed deputy voter registrar for Bexar County, helping and encouraging others to register.
“I started to realize the things that matter to me and things that are important to me, but I wasn’t doing anything about it,” says Delgado.
He also helps first-time voters understand the process and importance of voting.
“Texas is becoming more and more Latino populated. We have a voice, which I think a lot of time we weren’t utilizing,” says Delgado.
While RJ was speaking with Delgado, Justin De Hoyos approached the table.
De Hoyos made the choice to register to vote for the first time.
“I was taught at a very young age like, Oh, don’t worry about it, you won’t stand a chance. They won’t believe us. Insert whatever excuse that they’ve been told to not go out and do something at the highest level. They’re being told not to worry about it. So by the time it gets to me, and as I grow older, this is kind of beaten into me, it’s kind of drilled into you that this is what it is. When you work with people like Steve, you know, step in and around the ground level, you know, that doesn’t that’s not true. That’s not the case. Which is why you have situations like today where he’s stepping up, you know, providing resources and just bridging the gap,” says De Hoyos.
“We need to quit thinking that people are going to come find us. We need to do a better job of putting in front of people and saying, this is what’s coming up. This is what’s important. This is how you vote. This is how you get registered,” says Delgado.
He hopes to send the message that the Latino vote does count, no matter the differences in what an individual voter cares about the most.
“We care about the economy. We care about jobs. And we also like my grandmother’s situation. We care about the border crisis,” says Delgado.
THE BREAKDOWN BOOTH
Some of our own KSAT staff stepped into the Breakdown booth to share their take on what the Latino vote means.
Find more like this on the KSAT Explains page.