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Community group says 2020 election highlights importance of Latino voters

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Posted at 6:40 AM, Nov 06, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The impact Latino voters are having on the 2020 election is attracting attention, and one group says more needs to be done to court voters.

El Centro is a nonprofit that works on a number of issues, including voter registration and engagement.

President and CEO Irene Caudillo explained it's important candidates and their campaigns understand Latinos are not one-issue voters.

“Immigration is important to the population that we serve, but what we found where they have the same concerns about jobs, economy, healthcare, education,” she said.

Caudillo added that Latinos are diverse and their numbers are growing.

One example of the growing importance of the Latino vote can be found in a swing state like Florida.

According to a Pew Research poll, conducted just before the 2020 election, 2.5 million Latinos in Florida are registered to vote in 2020 compared to 2 million in 2016.

Caudillo said opportunities to court voters are missed.

“What we found was interesting that sometimes we were the only ones knock on their door to ask," she explained.

Valeria Espadas Ibarra is a community mobilizer for El Centro who explained people she met were energized to participate in this year's election.

“We had a guy, 86 years old, never voted, first-time voter. We had a couple people that they were determined to become citizens this year holding onto their residency for a while. They just weren’t ready to make that jump to become citizens, but the election motivated them,” Ibarra said.

While a winner in the 2020 presidential election is not clear, Ibarra said it’s obvious the Latino vote is growing and not going away.

“Our voices are going to determine elections," she said.

41 Action News is committed to providing comprehensive information on the 2020 primary and general elections with an emphasis on several key issues — the economy, the COVID-19 pandemic and race relations. Count on us to provide news and information to help you make an informed choice at the polls.