The Latino vote and how much weight it holds for a presidential candidate to win Florida

Updated: Oct. 30, 2020 at 12:09 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -We’re a few days away from the General Election and many including candidates have their eyes on Latino voters. In Florida, 2.5 million Latinos are registered to vote.

Research shows that over the last few years there has been an increase of Latino voters across the country. According to the Pew Research Center Latino voters in Florida now represent 17% of registered voters.

On the Suncoast, Latinos make up 11% of the population in Sarasota County. 4% of which are registered to vote. In Manatee County, 19% of the population is Latinx- 7% of Latinos in that county are registered to vote.

But why does their vote hold so much weight?

“The difference between states like Texas, New Mexico, California and Arizona [is that] you largely have Mexican American heritage Latinos who vote Democratic. Where as in Florida you have a split between sort of Republican leaning Latinos and and Democratic leaning Latinos,” said political science expert, Susan Macmanus.

Macmanus says the growing population across the country is changing the politics in a lot of states.

“For example in Florida by 2040 it’s projected that Florida’s population will be a majority non white. The movement in that direction is heavily fueled by the growth of the Hispanic population in Florida," said MacManus. "So this is a very important vote not only in the short-term 2020 but looking ahead in the future.”

For many local Latinos like the Executive Director of UnidosNow Luz Corcuera, believe that voting is a privilege in order to give those who can’t an opportunity to also be heard.

“It’s important that Latinos like myself vote in the upcoming general election because we will be the largest ethnic minority,” said Isabella Macias.

Latina voter Isabella Macias says voting is important. Macias says that’s why she’s a student ambassador for Mi Voto, Mi Futuro campaign with Unidos Now to help encourage first time Latino voters to head to the polls.

“We have no idea how much of an impact, how much of an influence we will be having not only on the president of the United States but local officials, and local governments that will be directly impacting our policies, legislation passed that will affect our families and ourselves,” said Macias.

MacManus says Florida is a melting pot with Hispanics from all over Central and South America. She says it makes a difference at the polls.

“It’s very diverse and in our state country of origin is often very important in understanding the party leanings,” said Susan MacManus.

She says people’s past political experiences with their countries will likely impact who and what they vote for here.

“To say it’s an important group in Florida it’s to understate it, because it’s very important,” said MacManus.

The countdown is on and Latino groups like UnidosNow are making a final push to get Latinos out to the polls.

“It is important that our community is represented and that we elevate our voices and participate in this process,” said Corcuera.

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