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Descubre with Montse: The Latino vote

Descubre means "discover" and TV6's Montse Ricossa helps you discover more about different and...
Descubre means "discover" and TV6's Montse Ricossa helps you discover more about different and diverse topics in the United States.(KWQC)
Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 7:00 PM CDT
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Montse Ricossa: From TV6 News, it’s Descubre with Montse, I’m Montse Ricossa. Descubre means “discover” and I’m here to help you discover more about different and diverse topics in the United States. Welcome to Descubre with Montse’s 12th episode, “The Latino vote.”

Today is Thursday, October 22nd and we are only 11 days away from the 2020 presidential election. We have heard about the importance of voting and political ads all over our TV’s, ads, and social media. One group in particular is seeing even more representation at the polls this year: Latinos. There are a record 32 million Latinos projected to be eligible to vote, according to Pew Research. That’s about 13.3% of all voters. Latinos are also expected to be the fastest-growing racial or ethnic minority in a presidential election.

So, what do they care about? How is this year different than others? We’ll hear from Sofia Mojica, a first-time Latina voter as well as PJ Foley, a Political Science adjunct instructor from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa.

So, this was your first-time voting. What was that like?

Sofia Mojic

Oh, it was exciting. It was different though, especially because of COVID and everything. And we’ve been away at college. But it was a good experience. It was fun and exciting.

Montse Ricossa:

Yeah, what was it like because you voted early so that was different already then you know voting on November 3?

Sofia Mojica:

Mmhmm. So we had my mom and I, our family had our ballots mailed to us. So then at home, we filled them out, and then we took them to the ballot box that’s in front of the Rock Island County Clerk’s office and just put them in.

Montse Ricossa:

I saw that your mom, because I have your mom on Facebook, and I saw that she posted like ‘oh we voted!’ So, I think social media is really big this year, in the elections with people posting about it and LULAC too saying ‘oh this person voted.’ How do you think social media is kind of changing how we see the election and especially as somebody younger you’re kind of all evolved with social media?

Sofia Mojica:

I think social media is like a really good tool to use especially during this time and especially during COVID when you can only go out and really go to like a voting drive anymore because of COVID. So, especially to reach young people social media is very good to use and to reach them and to get them up to go vote.

Montse Ricossa:

Adjust instructor PJ Foley says he thinks social media has changed the way voters see the act of going to the polls as well.

PJ Foley:

Social media on Facebook and Twitter and whatever other realm there is, you know, if people are seeing others or their friends going out to vote or their friends showing if they’re going to vote, they may be more apt to feel more comfortable. Now on the other side of that spectrum, how social media can be negative if people tend to come out and say I’m supporting ‘such and such a candidate.’ It’s called social desirability. That’s why you vote in a, in a booth and people don’t want to know, or they don’t want others to know especially if they’re supporting one side or the other. How they’re voting. And so social desirability would say, I’m not going to say or I’m not going to be outgoing. So sometimes on social media, you do have that impact of individuals not wanting to say who they’re supporting. But I do think it’s good when people come out and have their ‘I voted’ stickers and say ‘hey I voted. Why don’t you?’ and seems to be more socially acceptable.

Montse Ricossa:

Do you think it’s more younger voters that are sharing online versus the older voters?

PJ Foley:

Yeah, another great question. I do tend to see folks between 18 and 34 are sharing more on social media, just because they’re more apt to be more on Facebook or Twitter or use those apps rather than those individuals that are 34 to 65, or 70, or however. The older you get with a demographic, you’re going to see less social media use. In general, and politically you see it more with the younger voters.

Montse Ricossa:

A lot of Latino groups like LULAC I’ve seen on Facebook saying ‘hey this person voted early.’ Do you think, especially with COVID this year you can’t have big voting parties or say ‘let’s all go together.’ Do you think social media is kind of helping this way with COVID-19 this year?

PJ Foley:

Yeah, I think social media is talking about for both parties, both Republicans and Democrats, how to get out the vote, how to hit the targeted audience. You know, social media posts with identification of how to go actually vote or how to do it within the state because each state is different on how they’re doing it. Either he called early we call it early voting, or ballot voting. And also, you know, if you want to go to the polls and go, the day of or vote early, you don’t go to your respective county clerk’s office and vote.

Montse Ricossa:

This year Latinos are expected for the first time to be the nation’s largest racial or ethnic minority and the presidential election, how does that change the outcome or outlook of this election particularly?

PJ Foley:

I think it has a major impact on the voting electorate since 2000, the Latino population has considerably grown to the last midterm election in 2018. Roughly you’re seeing over 29 million in 2018 compared comparatively to about 15 million in 2000 so it will have a definite impact especially on the battleground states that will have a definite impact in Florida, and Arizona and Michigan, Wisconsin, and even here in the state of Iowa.

Montse Ricossa:

Touching on Iowa in particular, how does that change things? At the caucus this year it was very different obviously we didn’t get the results right away. And do you think that Latinos voting in Iowa will sway things one way or the other?

PJ Foley:

Comparatively... not compared to the state of Florida, Arizona, have a definite impact. In the state of Iowa, there’s about a 4% Latino voting population, they’re projecting this time around, it will definitely have an impact. But compared to Florida, where you have over 25% Latino population will have much more of an impact on that battleground state but clearly, it definitely will have some, some sway.

Montse Ricossa:

Have a lot of your friends also voted or some of them like oh my vote doesn’t matter, I’m not going to. What is that like for your friends?

Sofia Mojica:

So for my friends, they’re very, like, they are going to go out and vote. I know some of them have stayed home because at Blackhawk’s so they’re there so they have gone out to vote. Otherwise, my friends here it is a little difficult. Being away at college you’re not sure and especially in another state, you’re not sure how to do it exactly so your vote does count for your state and everything. But I always recommend you to go home and go early. Yeah, and a lot of them that’s what they did.

Montse Ricossa:

Why did you choose to vote there instead of Wisconsin?

Sofia Mojica:

Probably because it’s my hometown. And I found it easier than to request like this whole absentee ballot. Since it is my first time voting, it’s still a little bit confusing on what exactly to do to make sure your vote counts and you’re doing it in the right way so it doesn’t get, what’s the word? Void. Yeah, it was easier to go back home than to request an absentee ballot and especially I think you had to go somewhere to vote, and not having a car here on campus makes that difficult.

Montse Ricossa:

What would you have wanted to be more accessible or made it easier for you to understand how to vote in Wisconsin?

Sofia Mojica:

Probably more like online workshops. Because I know, I am a part of two groups here on campus and they did touch a little bit. But it is a lot of explaining and I feel like having a presentation with pictures of what to look for, where to go, and especially early on so since voting was 2020 this year, it would have been nice to have information, possibly during the summer so if you’re going away to college you know what to do.

Montse Ricossa:

Oh, that would have been interesting, I am because when I was at Augustana It was my first time voting there, and I didn’t really know how to do it but they just had like the polls at our college actually so it made it super easy because I was going to grab dinner like ‘I’ll just vote here.’ Is that something that y’all had there, or was it completely off-campus?

Sofia Mojica:

I’m gonna say I think they did, possibly have something here on campus, of course, though with COVID it was a little bit difficult to try and keep up like everything is just constantly changing, COVID. So it was a little bit confusing because at first, I heard you had to go somewhere then I heard it was possibly on campus, so it was a little bit difficult to try and keep up. Where do I have to go?

Montse Ricossa:

I mentioned earlier that about one in five Latinos actually are like evangelicals or Christian so that might swing them to the right. Do you think, you know, candidates are people looking at a Latino might just assume, oh, they’re automatically going to vote Democrat or vote blue when really Latinos have much more in-depth for them. Do you see that as the case with you or with other people that you know?

Sofia Mojica:

Oh, I actually never thought about that. And to be honest, um, for me, I personally look at what’s gonna be best for me and my community and for the world in the US in general. I do feel like that could be like a stereotype in a way that like oh they are gonna vote blue but I mean everyone has their own personal standards and what they want to see in a president. So, just because you’re like Christian or whatever and especially in the Latino community doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to vote blue.

Montse Ricossa:

Right, yeah. Everybody has different characteristics Latino isn’t just that one.

PJ Foley:

you know, with one in five Latinos being Christian or Catholic, that has a definite impact on voting supports tend to be those that are in that category of Christian or Catholic tend to vote on social issues, tend to vote more on the conservative trend than they do a liberal trend. So that definitely does have an impact.

Montse Ricossa:

Latino votes aren’t necessarily guaranteed for Vice President Biden necessarily because they could, you know vote for President Trump because of Amy Coney Barrett or pro-life issues, is that something that you think would be something that we’ll see nationwide, or do you think that they will still most likely lean left?

PJ Foley:

They generally tend to lean left but you know there is, there is the base of conservative support within the Christian coalition especially within the Latino vote of eligible voters there that definitely will have an impact. And on pattern in battleground states that will be the key to tend to see how the election works right now is how the voting Latino voting population sees that and how they tend to vote if they tend to be more conservative, Christian, Catholic, that can definitely have a great impact on those battleground states.

Montse Ricossa:

A recent NBC poll showed that Vice President Joe Biden was coming out substantially above President Trump, but still slightly lower than Hillary Clinton. Why do you think that could be?

PJ Foley:

I think the impact of handling the coronavirus, the economy, social issues that are going on out there going on here in the United States has a definite impact. Between vice Vice President Biden and President Trump.

Montse Ricossa:

What were some of the topics that are that you were looking for in a candidate or that you think were at your top priorities voting this year?

Sofia Mojica:

For me, it probably is what they’re really looking for like COVID-wise. You know, like how they plan to what they have in stored in like what they released on with COVID is and all. And especially everything that was going on with the Black Lives Matter movement and the children in cages and immigration I was really focusing on that because that hit home. Especially being a Latina and everything, so that’s really what I was focusing on. I know everyone else like I said they had their own expanders and views and what they were looking for but that’s mainly what I’m looking for.

Montse Ricossa:

Did you feel like the person you voted for satisfied all of those things or is there something else that you wish somebody would have discussed?

Sofia Mojica:

I mean, as being a first-time voter and 18. It is a lot to try and look at every candidate and especially what their intentions are. And especially with the media and TV always get these ads so it is a little bit difficult to try and pick like just one. You know, I do think that the candidate that I picked did satisfy the majority of my needs, I do think it would be nice to have someone or like a workshop a class or like the seminar is something that would give you more in-depth for each candidate and what they are looking for. Because I feel like it was a little bit overwhelming trying to figure out what all their intentions were.

Montse Ricossa:

This year we’ve seen a lot of discussion over social justice or social injustices, right? Mostly targeted towards Black Americans but do you think that will also shift more of other minority groups to vote since they see how that’s happened so much within the Black community?

PJ Foley:

Yeah, I think you’re gonna see more racial diversity amongst the eligible voters increases. I think you’ll definitely see that.

Montse Ricossa:

There is also an intersectionality between racial diversity and age. A poll released by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School found the amount of 18 to 29-year-olds that said they’re voting this year has increased drastically from the last election… going from 47% to 63% this year.

Sofia Mojica:

Our vote affects us as a community as a Latino community. And I know there is this thinking that like, oh my voice, my vote doesn’t count, it’s only me one person. Your vote does count. It affects everyone. Not just you, but your children, because your children pretty soon if you have children, who in the next four years will be able to vote in the next election, It will affect them, so you want a better world for not only you but the next generation of come.

Montse Ricossa:

Election day is November 3rd. In 2016, it’s estimated that just over 57 million Americans voted in the election. As of October 21, over 43 million people had already voted, in the 30 states that have made that data available. Michael McDonald from the University of Florida estimates this year’s voter turnout may be record-setting, with 150-million people projected to vote. That’s 65% of the U.S. population, and the highest percentage in over 100 years.

This podcast was produced and edited by Montse Ricossa, reviewed by David Nelson, theme music composed by Gabriel Candiani and Eduardo Moretti Valenzuela.

I’m your host, Montse Ricossa.

Hasta la próxima, until next time!

Copyright 2020 KWQC. All rights reserved.