A report by Pew Research Center released this week states that a record 29 million Hispanic people are eligible to vote.
“The pool of eligible Hispanic voters has steadily grown in recent years. Between 2014 and 2018, an additional 4 million Hispanics became eligible voters (U.S. citizens ages 18 and older). Much of this growth has been driven by young US-born Hispanics coming of age,” the report states.
Last week, several Wichita State University students hosted a non-partisan voter registration drive. Alejandro Arias-Esparza helped lead the effort which was targeted at minority students.
“We cannot be a silent beast. I think it’s time to wake up and start making ourselves relevant to politics,” Arias-Esparza said.
He reports they got 30 new voter registrations with 10 more changing their addresses so they’d be eligible to vote. A sticker on his laptop says, ‘first we register, then we vote.’
Upon hearing the new record number eligible in this election, Arias-Esparza hopes that translates to Election Day.
“We’re almost a token during the election, they love to preach that they will support the Latino community. But when it comes to them coming into office and acting it’s a whole different story,” Arias-Esparza said.
Arias-Esparza’s fraternity brother Alex Ibarra represents a different Latino population. He is a DACA recipient and therefore, cannot vote.
“That’s something I wish I could do. but I absolutely encourage other people if you don’t want to vote,
vote for people who can’t,” Ibarra said.
Arias-Esparza echoed the same message.
“I think it’s time to show politicians, to show Washington, and the state, and Wichita, that we are a huge majority and we should be represented as so,” Arias-Esparza said.
Kansas does not track voter ethnicity in registration records. It is unclear if Latino registration is up locally.