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Uncertainty surrounds New York Latino voter turnout for midterms

Katie Zilcosky

As the midterm elections approach, there are concerns about whether Latino voters will turn out as much as they have in past elections.

In New York, 12% of voters in the 2020 General Election were Latino, up from 10% in 2018, according to a poll by Univision, including a lot of new and young voters.

Ameer Patel, vice president of programs for the group Voto Latino, pointed out with such divisive issues as abortion access, gun restrictions, the economy and democracy's integrity on the ballot this November, he hopes the stage is set for an even bigger turnout.

"We saw a surge of young Latinos vote for the first time in 2020 as well as 2018," Patel recounted. "One of our core emphases here, this cycle, is making sure the surge of voters that came out in 2018 and 2020 become repeat voters, and they vote again this election cycle."

Patel noted low voter turnout is often the result of a lack of information about the policies and proposals on the ballot. According to a Voto Latino poll, only 21% of those surveyed had heard of President Joe Biden's infrastructure bill. He added Voto Latino has been focused on getting more people registered to vote and explaining how every vote matters.

As plenty of states have changed their voting regulations, one challenge is making sure people know how voting is done in their state. Patel explained another hurdle in the upcoming election has been what he calls "voter depression."

"You have these negative actors talking about how voting doesn't matter, how neither politician or neither party really, truly cares about you," Patel acknowledged. "On a much more grand or common level, you have people that are running for office right now, talking about how the past election was stolen."

He added the persistent lies about the 2020 election have convinced some people elections are rigged, or the voting process no longer embodies the spirit of democracy. Patel stressed his group and others are working to counter these views and encouraging people to cast their ballots.

This story comes from New York News Connection.

I am a hardworking journalist who has been reporting on current events since 2011. I began doing stories on mass transit in New York City and moved slowly towards social issues, current events, media, entertainment, etc. I have a background in multi-media journalism with my area of expertise being print and digital/online writing.