PHOENIX – The Mejias, owners of a busy quinceañera shop in East Phoenix, are immigrants from Hidalgo, Mexico, naturalized citizens and eligible to vote but the husband and wife are unlikely to cast ballots in the presidential election.
“Honestly, I never vote,”said David Mejia. Hispanic voter turnout is traditionally low. The reasons vary. Mejia said he “doesn’t believe in any political party.”
Some Latino voters are so disappointed with the presidential candidates and their stand on issues, they may stay home on election day. The National Association of Latino Elected Officials estimates 433,000 Latinos will cast ballots in Arizona in November, an 8 percent increase from 2012, the last presidential election. Nationwide 13.1 million Latinos are expected to vote according to NALEO but that’s less than half of the 27.3 million Hispanic citizens who are eligible.
Teresa Mejia was enthusiastically supporting Bernie Sanders. “When he came here a lot of people showed up to support him, in other other states as well. Young people were the ones that supported him the most,” said Mejia. Her daughter, a teacher, was also backing “Bernie.”
She’s unhappy Bernie Sanders is not on the ballot and won’t vote for Hillary Clinton. Mejia is especially upset with Donald Trump. “He’s a heartless person without scruples,” said Mejia. “Why is he attacking us? His wife is an immigrant too.”
Her husband said if he were to vote it would likely be for Clinton. In a tight race Latino voters could give Clinton an edge over Trump. Trump would only win “if they let him, “said Abel Serrano, a sales clerk at a western wear clothing store that caters to Hispanic customers.
“Voting is the most important thing,” said Serrano. He’s not a U.S. citizen but tells everyone he knows who can vote to exercise their right.
“We encourage you to vote and those who are not eligible can offer moral support,” said Serrano.