Our Chicago: How Latino voters could impact upcoming midterm election

Sunday, September 18, 2022
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Voters will go to the polls in just over seven weeks, casting ballots in the midterm election.

They'll be voting in congressional and other statewide races in Illinois, including the gubernatorial election.

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials projected that at least 11.6 million Latinos will cast ballots this year.

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In Illinois, the association reported the Latino share of all voters is expected to be 7.9%.

As Hispanic Heritage Month gets underway, ABC7 looked at what issues are most important to Latino voters and who's likely to turn out.

One thing to remember is it's not safe to make assumptions about how they'll vote.

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"What I like to remind folks, going back to the election of the first Bush, President Bush, over 30 years ago, 40% of Latinos voted for him," said Sylvia Puente, president and CEO of the Latino Policy Forum, "So the Latino vote is not monolithic at all. It always has had a core Republican number of voters. And of course, as the number of Latinos has increased in the nation and the number of Latino voters has increased, it's interesting to note that that core of 30% to 40% who vote Republican has remained constant."

Jaime Dominguez, a professor in the political science department at Northwestern University, also weighed in.

"The extent to which either party is looking to capture the attention and the vote of Latinos I think they have to speak to core issues that matter to everybody which is basically the top three that you see all the time in poll after poll which is basically inflation/the economy, housing, jobs, healthcare and surprisingly there's been a couple of polls over the last couple of weeks that show that actually abortion is actually now a big issue for Latinos. More so than immigration," Dominguez said.

Puente said what's being seen nationally is also been seen in Chicago and across Illinois.

"I think it's really important to note that Latino voters are American voters and the issues that impact all Americans impact the Latino community as well," Puente said. "I think it's no surprise that inflation and jobs and wages are at the top of the list given that we know that 50% of all Latino workers in the nation earn under $15 an hour."
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