LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The 2020 election is expected to be historic for several reasons. Americans will be casting their ballots in the middle of a global pandemic. And for the first time in our nation's history, Latinos will make up the largest non-white voting block.
"It is probably more important this year than it has been in any election in recent memory," said Ken Miller, professor at UNLV.
Millers said the Latino vote is more important than ever because of the number of eligible voters - 32 million according to the Pew Research Center - and where those voters are, including important swings states like Florida and Nevada.
"20 percent of our [Nevada's] voting eligible population identifies as Latino so if you can get three out of four of those, you're going to win an election in this state," he said.
Cecia Alvarado is the Nevada State Director for Mi Familia Vota, a non-partisan organization that aims to educate and inform the Latino community about voter registration, key election dates and the platforms of candidates. She said this historic election is an opportunity for a largely underrepresented block to build political power.
"We're no longer that sleeping monster," she said. "They want to be able to bring change into our communities and they know they can do that through voting."
Alvarado said Latino voters typically vote based on issues not political parties and this year, the COVID-19 pandemic is of utmost importance.
"Our community is suffering right now," she said. "Unemployment rates, historic unemployment rates, lack of health care and also the lack of response from the president through this pandemic. Our community is hurting."
And while Latinos have traditionally voted more often for Democratic candidates, Miguel Navarro is a straight-party Republican voter. He said President Trump's views align with his on the issues he cares about most.
"Immigration, law and order, education and basically just second amendment. And being pro-life," he said.