A local Nevadan gives his insights on why he doesn’t vote. Interview by Nick Eng with data visualization by Karolina Rivas.
According to data from Pew Research, young Latino and Hispanic Americans are currently the least likely demographic to vote. Many of them are recent high school graduates and many are not pursuing a college degree. Data visualization by Karolina Rivas.
With the November midterm election creeping up, lots of people will be hitting the polls or sending in their absentee ballots. On college campuses across the United States, groups are advocating for young adults to become registered voters and make their voices heard.
However, one of the biggest untapped group of eligible voters aren’t voting or aren’t even registered. According to Pew Research, young Latino and Hispanic Americans are currently the least likely demographic to vote. Many of them are recent high school graduates and many are not pursuing a college degree.
Eduardo Oliva, 21, is one of those people. He gave us his time and his insight on why he believes young Latino and Hispanic Americans don’t vote.
Oliva (right) pictured with his sister is a 2015 graduate of Galena high school. He now works two full-time jobs.
Q: How long have you lived in Reno and are you a registered voter?
A: I’ve been here for 17 years and I’m not a registered voter.
Q: Young Latino and Hispanic Americans who are eligible to vote are now one of the least likely to vote in this midterm election. As an eligible voter of that group, why do you think that is?
A: I think they’re the least likely to vote because they just feel like their vote doesn’t really matter in general. However, in the current state of our government, I think they’re least likely to vote because they’re scared.
Q: So you think a lot of them don’t vote because of the current president?
A: Absolutely. I thinks it’s the fear of being generalized as a people made up of nothing but criminals and drug mules or attacked simply because of their heritage.
Fears Blown out of Proportion
Q: Do you think that the fear revolving around Latinos and Hispanics coming into the United States is blown out of proportion, or do you think there’s a genuine concern to the immigration process?
A: I do think it’s widely blown out of proportion. Yes, there are people who are criminals that come here, but I believe that the majority of us who came here came for an opportunity that isn’t available in Mexico, and I think the reason Mexicans are targeted the most is because our country is so close to the U.S.
Q: Do you think that young voters are more important than older voters or have the bigger voice? Why are young voters so complacent about actively voting these days?
A: I do think young voters have the biggest voice. I think the reason they’re so complacent is the constant belittling they receive and being told that they’re voice doesn’t matter is what tends to drive them away from voting.
Too Busy to Vote?
Q: Do you think a big part of why young people in general don’t vote is because they’re just too busy? Young adulthood is crazy after all, and there’s a lot to worry about.
A: I would say yes. With school and jobs, I think that’s another big reason why younger people don’t vote, and coming from a Hispanic household we are very work-oriented, so I can definitely see young Latino voters either not being able to get off of work or not willing to miss a day of work.
Q: Is that a reason why you aren’t registered? Has life just gotten in the way? Are you starting to have a change of heart in recent years?
A: In the past, definitely, especially around 18 where it also seemed like a chore almost. I would say yeah, but I think now with everything that’s been happening it definitely motivates me more to put my voice out there especially with issues that I have a deep connection with.
Q: Anything else to add?
A: I’d like to add that young people really need to get out and vote we have to get out of this mindset of our voice doesn’t matter. Republican or Democrat it doesn’t matter. This is our future. We should have a say in the way it’s shaped … leave this entitled and snobbish mentality and let our voices be heard otherwise our future will be pretty much tarnished and it will be no one else’s fault but our own for not being part of those decisions.
Interview by Nick Eng with data visualization by Karolina Rivas shared with the Reynolds Sandbox