Asian-Americans and Latinos in California and two other states went to the polls in smaller numbers for this year’s primary election compared with the same period four years ago, according to a UCLA report published Thursday.
The report, written by the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative and UCLA Asian American Studies Center, also revealed that fewer ballots were cast in high-density Latino precincts in Los Angeles and Orange counties in the 2020 primary election than in the 2016 primary election.
The study analyzed precinct-level data in the Democratic Party’s nominating contests through March 17 in 10 states with large Asian-American and/or Latino populations, including California, Texas and Virginia.
“The 2020 election will not only decide control of the White House and the United States Congress, but down-ballot races that will decide redistricting, economic recovery, police reform and our fragile social safety net,” said Sonja Diaz, founding director of the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative. “Asian-American and Latino voters have an opportunity to make their voices heard on those issues in the coming election, but it’s clear that candidates and campaigns must engage with America’s diverse electorate prior to November.”
Diaz said the coronavirus pandemic will make traditional outreach tactics such as in-person rallies and door-to-door canvassing more difficult, but that there is still time to implement plans to reach two of the nation’s fastest-growing voting blocs.
Natalie Masuoka, a UCLA associate professor of political science and Asian American studies, and the report’s lead author, noted that campaigns across the country “need to engage voters in their vision for a prosperous future” and said there is “still time for campaigns to get outreach right.”
The report’s authors suggest that the decline may have been due to changes to election procedures, including polling location closures and the creation of new vote centers, and might indicate that education efforts did not reach Latino voters.