A key advocacy group says Iowa’s Latinx communities could have a significant impact at the polls in November. And even though policy decisions have made it harder to vote safely, activists feel optimistic about turnout.
Historically, Latinos have lagged behind other demographics when it comes to participating in elections, but they now represent the largest minority voting group in the U.S. Joe Enriquez Henry, political director of the nonpartisan Iowa League of United Latin American Citizens, said over the past year, outreach groups have added 10,000 Latinx voters to registration rolls in the state.
He added about half of the registered population are younger than 30, and that generation is particularly outspoken when it comes to political issues.
He said because of absentee-voting laws approved by the Iowa Legislature this year, many Latinos in Iowa still plan to head to the polls on Election Day. That’s despite Iowa seeing a surge in COVID-19 activity. Legislators maintain the rules are meant to protect against fraud.
President Donald Trump is seeing increased support from the Hispanic community in key states such as Florida. But Enriquez Henry noted the feedback his group is getting from Latino voters in Iowa.
As for Iowa, Enriquez Henry said the effect the pandemic has had on the meat-packing industry also will be a factor this election.
There have been concerns about not taking sufficient action to protect workers during the pandemic.