Latinos In California Primary Election Show Lower Turnout Than Other Groups

CA Latino News

Some experts predict a historically low voter turnout less than a week before the March 5 California primary election. As of February 24, only 7% of the 22 million ballots had been returned, with 250,000 fewer ballots returned compared to the same point in 2022. The June primary in 2022 saw a turnout of 33%.

Statewide data from February 22 indicates that only 3% of mail-in ballots have been returned, with Latinos having the lowest turnout. Currently, 4% of white voters, 3% of Asian voters, and 3% of Black voters have cast their ballots, while only 2% of Latinos have voted.

In an interview with NBC Bay Area, Political science Professor Andres Quintero from Evergreen Valley College expressed concern, stating, “The picture does look dismal in the primaries. It’s very disheartening for those who do pay attention to electoral politics.”

Although the previous low voter turnout in a presidential primary was 31% in 2012, even a 30% turnout this year would mean more actual voters due to increased registered voters since 2012.

Experts like UC Davis political science professor James Adams attribute the projected low turnout to the perception that the presidential nomination contest is already decided before the primary elections begin.

Adams told CBS Sacramento that with current frontrunners President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, voters may feel their vote will have little impact.

A recent report by the Pew Research Center revealed that Hispanic-eligible voters tend to be younger than the overall eligible voter population. Only 33% of eligible Latino voters are 50 and older, compared to 48% of all eligible U.S. voters.

Projections from The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund indicate that at least 4.8 million Latinos in California will vote in November, marking a 6.1% increase from 2020 and a 44.0% increase from 2016. The Latino share of all California voters in 2024 is expected to be 28.4%, reflecting the share in 2020 and showing a 22.4% increase from 2016.

For Super Tuesday in California, mail-in ballots must be postmarked by 8 p.m. on March 5 to be counted. If you vote in person at a polling place or voting center on Election Day, you must be in line by 8 p.m. to ensure your vote is counted.

Cover Photo by Sora Shimazaki

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