Latino voters in Florida se están poniendo las pilas this presidential election in comparison to the 2012 election. In fact, new stats released by the Clinton campaign prove that things are looking up for Hillary Clinton.
Early voting kicked off Monday, and a total of 133,000 Latinos have already voted in the Sunshine State – that’s a 99 percent increase compared to four years ago, reports BuzzFeed.
The high numbers are very encouraging for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Clinton’s campaign reports that an “unprecedented” 133,000 Latino votes consisted of vote-by-mail and absentee ballots. The campaign also highlighted that in Florida’s Pinellas County, which is 10 percent Latino, “Democrats now maintain a voter registration advantage that’s increased since March,” as reported by BuzzFeed News.
Latinos made up 17 percent of Florida’s electorate in 2012. The high numbers in 2016 could really push Clinton to win this key swing state.
But Florida is not the only state with a large Latino population where Hillary is dominating. Recent polls show that Clinton has the upper hand in Nevada and Arizona thanks to early Latino voters.
The election heat is on, and you might be totally new to the whole affair. There are a whole lot of things to figure out if it’s your first time voting, including whether you’re eligible, as well as questions about timing, logistics, candidates, and more. No worries, though, because here are some tips for first-time voters as well as people who may be a little out of practice.
And with the Coronavirus pandemic and Republican attacks on voting rights and access, it’s more important than ever that you vote with as much knowledge as possible.
Below, see everything you need to know about being a first-time voter, from registration to placing an absentee ballot to what items you’ll need to be prepared when you head to your polling place.
Make sure you’re registered to vote!
The first step in preparing to vote is to make sure that you’ve registered to vote before the cut-off date, which varies from state to state.
If you won’t be in town, you can cast your vote via an absentee ballot, which is often referred to as mail-in voting. (Note: some states will let you vote by mail even if you will be in town.) VOTE411.org has all the information you need to know about how to get registered and request an absentee ballot in your state. Be extra careful to note the deadline, since absentee ballots often have a due date before the actual election, and the United States Postal Service is likely to get overburdened as Election Day gets closer. Check out Teen Vogue‘s explainer on voting by mail if you want to learn more about the pros and cons of going this route.
Learn more about the candidates and referendums.
Some people may want to vote — but don’t know who to vote for. You can check out voter guides related to your state, as well from organizations that are offering comprehensive information on which candidate is running for which office in your state.Plus, there’s Ballot Ready for learning about the issues candidates stand against or in favor of.
Actually showing up to vote…
Most states will send you a voter card to confirm that you are registered. This piece of mail will likely include your designated polling place. If it doesn’t have that information or you misplaced your card, you can look it up online. Here’s an easy tool that will point you in the right direction. You won’t need to bring your voter card with you, but your state may require a valid photo ID.
Most polling places open between 6 and 9 a.m. and stay open until around 7 to 9 p.m., but double check with yours just to make sure (this will probably be listed online or via your local news media). Show up in the morning if possible to beat the crowds. Many states hold early voting periods in the lead-up to Election Day, which are a great way to avoid long lines and ensure your ballot is counted.
What should you expect at the polling station?
If you’re curious to know what it is like to be at a polling station, just search for “voting machines” along with your state’s name on Google. This should give you ample material on the equipment at the station and how you’re expected to use it.If you don’t have the time, you can simply ask a poll worker who should help you navigate the station
Can you take a selfie to show off your pride in democracy?
You may also be tempted to take a selfie with your ballot to share your experience on social media. However, make sure to be careful of your state’s laws when it comes to taking photos at a polling station. According to USA Today, some states strictly forbid taking photos, although many states still have unclear guidelines. If you are unsure of what your state allows, it’s probably a safer bet to not post that selfie.
What should you do if you feel like your rights were violated?
In the event that you suspect your voting rights were violated (for example, if you think your voter registration was removed or you were turned away from a polling station for a suspicious reason) contact the number for ACLU’s Election Protection: (866) 687-8683. The website provides detailed information for contacting officials in your own state.
What should you do if there are intimidating political groups or others protesting outside your polling place?
Nearly every state in America prohibits people from political campaigning within 100 feet of the voting station. If you are aggressively accosted by someone attempting to persuade or dissuade your voting choice, alert a polling official.
Voting turnout is the topic on everyone’s lips as we get closer to Nov. 3. The current election cycle has seen record early voting, especially for Democrats. However, in Texas, the increased turnout has led to what many are calling voter suppression to prevent the growing Latino community from voting.
Voting advocates are sounding the alarm that Texas’ GOP governor and politicians are suppressing Latino voters.
Latinos are 40 percent of the Texas population. According to a poll, Latino voters in Texas are more motivated than they were in the 2018 midterms. Twenty-eight percent of Latino voters turned out in 2018 and things have changed drastically since, mainly due to Covid-19.
Latinos in Texas are facing disproportionate rates of Covid-19 infections.
Houston Public Media reported that while Latinos make up 40 percent of the population in Texas they make up 52 percent of Covid infections. Meanwhile, white Texans make up 30 percent of Covid infections. The numbers show an uneven response to the pandemic that has left Latinos behind.
The forced consolidation of drop-off locations and limiting of mail-in ballots is further endangering the Latino community. The Covid pandemic is not over and forcing people to vote in person will only increase the spread of the virus.
One way Gov. Greg Abbott has made it harder for people to vote safely is limiting drop-off locations for mail-in ballots.
Gov. Abbott made the decision to limit the number of ballot drop-off locations to one per county. As demonstrated by the graph above, this leaves 4.7 million residents of Harris County one drop-off location. Gov. Abbott cited the false Republican talking point of voter fraud as his reasoning for suppressing the vote in the Lone Star State. By comparison, Los Angeles County, home to 10.4 million residents, has 398 drop-off locations for mail-in ballots.
Despite this, Texas Latinos are fired up and ready to vote.
A poll found that 90 percent of Latinos voters are ready to vote in the 2020 election. Sixty-six percent of those voters are leaning towards are are definitely voting for a Biden/Harris ticket compared to 25 percent voting Trump/Pence. A large majority of Latino voters says that it is more important to vote now than it was in 2016 because of everything that is at stake.