A mix of Democratic campaigns, super PACs and organizations throughout the predominantly blue state have been working for weeks to turnout Latino voters for the September 14 recall election, fighting a mix of apathy, anger and confusion in their effort to get what has been a reliable voting bloc for the party to come out for an off-year election.
Latino voters find themselves at the intersection of both the recall and the issue that partially spurred the effort — the coronavirus pandemic and Newsom’s stringent response to it. A series of studies have found Latinos have been the demographic group most adversely impacted by the coronavirus in the state.
“You can’t win California without reaching out to Latinos, so from the get-go there was an effort to connect with Latinos and Latino leaders to emphasize how important the recall was,” said Angelica Salas, the head of CHIRLA Action Fund, an immigrant rights organization that has been working against recalling Newsom. “We are doing everything in our power to defeat this recall.”
Salas, whose organization has had over 20 volunteers knocking doors nearly every day since early August, said her organizers have found some people unsure about why they are having to vote in a nontraditional election year — along with some apathy about the effort.
It’s a problem for Newsom: Given California’s overwhelming Democratic lean, Republicans will need both boosted turnout from their side and depressed turnout from traditionally Democratic voters to have a chance to oust the first-term governor. If the recall passes, voters will be asked on the same ballot to pick from a sweep of Newsom challengers, including Republican Larry Elder, a leading contender on the right who has made fighting Newsom’s coronavirus pandemic orders central to his campaign.
Newsom himself has looked to boost Latino turnout ahead of the recall election, telling Latino leaders on Thursday that echoes of Prop 187 — the now-void 1994 California proposition that barred undocumented immigrants from using a series of public services — is on the ballot with him.
“You brought up Prop 187 — the xenophobia, the nativism. That’s on the ballot September 14,” Newsom said. “I never thought we’d have to live that again.”
Read more about the California recall and Latino voters here.