Hispanics voters in Pennsylvania to play critical role in presidential election

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It's a first in the history of presidential elections, with Hispanics now the largest minority group of voters: a record of 32 million eligible Latino voters.

It's captured a lot of attention, especially in swing states like Pennsylvania.

"Which is interesting about the Latino community is we're not monolithic, 25-30 countries, different territories although we share a common language, we're different," Ceiba Executive Director Will Gonzalez said.

Will Gonzalez with Ceiba, a nonpartisan group encouraging Hispanics to vote, said here in Philadelphia - according to Census data - Latinos are the poorest minority group. So two big issues this election he said are healthcare and employment.

"The Latino community has been affected a lot by the pandemic . Sixty-one percent of Latino households have either lost a job or face a decrease in their wages," Gonzalez said.

And given COVID-19, one challenge is most voter education events are virtual. Mail-in ballots pose another challenge.

"The vote by mail is relatively new and fraught with a lot of stumbling blocks because of the privacy envelope because of the signature," Gonzalez said.

Gente De Venezuela, another organization active in the Latino vote, is hitting voters with short videos. Their focusing on Hispanic women who they say are most likely to vote and Gen Z.

"We really want to let the Latino young voters know that their future really depends on the outcome of the election," Gente De Venezuela Executive Director Juan Garrizio said.

And Vanessa Caracoza, a director with Philly Counts and proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, hopes her presence among voters makes a difference.

"Being engaged in the political process isn't going to just shape this year, it's really going to shape years to come," Caraciza said.

Currently, organizations say 42,000 mail-in ballots have been counted in Pennsylvania coming from the Hispanic community and they hope to see that number continue to rise.

Advocates stress how critical votes are in key states like Pennsylvania, especially if voters look at how close the last presidential election was.
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