SAN ANGELO, Texas — This year, Hispanics will become the largest minority racial group eligible to vote.
“The smallest elections that can make all the difference in your community are not high in turnout,” said San Angelo City Council Member, Lucy Gonzales.
32 million Hispanics in the United States will be eligible to vote in the November presidential election, according to Pew Research. For the first time, Hispanics are on track to be the largest minority racial or ethnic group to be eligible to vote but for a number of reasons, the number of Hispanics who don’t vote is greater than the number who do.
Councilwoman Lucy Gonzales is the only female Hispanic on the San Angelo City Council. She worked at the polls for 3 years after retiring and says she noticed the turnout for Hispanic voters was typically very low.
“It was very low,” added Gonzales, “In Texas in the last presidential election in 2016, the turnout was 36.9%.”
Guadalupe Gomez leads the Republican National Hispanic Assembly chapter in San Angelo. Their mission is to get Hispanics to become more involved in voting and politics.
“In San Angelo, we’ve seen more become involved, asking more questions about politics,” said Gomez, “Some Hispanics are not involved in politics or aware of what’s going on. That’s where we come in to educate them, let them know what the issues and policies are. That way, when they do come in to vote they know what they’re voting for.”
Both women say they want Hispanics to understand their votes do matter.
“Whether they vote for one party or another, this is your right. This is an important decision you make every 4 years so don’t take it lightly. I used to take it lightly and think my vote doesn’t count. If you have thousands of minorities saying that, your voice will not be heard. If you want your voice to be heard, you need to vote,” explained Gomez, “What do you want for your family, for the future of your children and grandchildren? We’re not going to be here forever to protect them,”
“Can you imagine what it would be like if our percentage would go up? What a difference it would make? What a difference people’s mindset would make to know that your vote does count?,” added Gonzales.
And they hope to see more Hispanics involved in politics.
“I hope that I inspire women of my culture to say, ‘She can do it, I can too.’ Give them some motivation to realize, ‘If it happened to her, it can happen to me.’ I hope when I am gone, someone of my culture does take that role on,” said Gonzales.