WASHINGTON, D.C. – Andrea Montes turns 18 just weeks before the November election, and the Wisconsin resident plans to vote for the first time.
She said she had always planned to exercise that right, but an incident in April made it clear just how important it was to cast her ballot. Montes was playing in a high school soccer game when it turned ugly. Fans on the opposing team began yelling “Trump ’16” and “Build that wall” at her Latina teammates, she said.
“The candidates this election aren't the best,” Montes said. “But I feel like if I don’t vote, it means that I’m OK with Donald Trump leading the country. And I'm not. People of color need to be voting this election.”
The soccer incident made national headlines, and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton even brought it up during a speech at the League of United Latin American Citizens conference in Washington, D.C. It’s exactly the kind of experience experts say might help galvanize the Latino electorate to vote this November.
Organizations like Univision, Voto Latino and the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project have tried to capitalize on the momentum, and the groups have spent months knocking on doors, sending text messages and blasting the airwaves to register Latinos. One expert said he expects a “mad frenzy” of voter registration leading up to the election.