‘We cannot be a silent beast:’ Hispanic student on importance of Latino voting

Local

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. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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