Saturday, May 25, 2024

With new primary schedule in California Latinos will have more say in 2020

Because of a slight calendar adjustment, Latinos will have a larger say in who Democrats elect to run for president in 2020.

“One in five American Latinos lives in Texas and if you add California, you get substantial power of the Latino vote to really influence the Democratic Party and reshape especially the Democratic Party on key issues, especially health care and immigration,” said Cristina Tzintzún Ramírez, executive director of Jolt, a Texas-based group which organizes Latinos on voting, turnout and on issues affecting the community.

California moved up its presidential primary — usually held in 2016 on June 7 — to March 3 for next year’s election. That means California, the state with the largest number of eligible Latino voters, estimated by Pew Research Center at about 7.7 million in 2018, will join Texas, the state with the second largest number of eligible Latino voters at about 5.5 million, in holding their primaries on Super Tuesday.

“I think it’s one of the very principal reasons why we moved primaries up, which is for California to have a real say in who the nominees for president are,” said Alex Padilla, California’s secretary of state who oversees its elections. “It’s not just the most populous state in the nation. We are the most diverse state in the nation and to allow for those voices to be meaningful in the nominating process is very empowering for California voters, including Latino voters.”

Other states still may reschedule their primaries, which could determine how influential the Latino vote is on Super Tuesday. All of this comes in a year when the nomination race is expected to be crowded and not too long after a 174 percent increase in early voting by Latinos for the 2018 midterms.

Ben Monterroso, Mi Familia Vota executive director, said his group has already begun discussions on turning out more Latino voters for the primary; “Latino voters need to be setting the agenda in the presidential race from the beginning, not at the last minute.”