Latino Leaders Asking Questions After Low Voter Turnout in Primary Election

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Leaders in the Latino community are asking what's next after a dismal voter turnout in California's primary election.

Preliminary data shows only 15% of eligible Latinos voted – the lowest of any ethnic group.

"I’m appalled," former San Jose Councilwoman Blanca Alvarado said. "I’m disheartened. But I’m also seriously alarmed."

Alvarado spent a lifetime fighting for political and social equity as the first Latina elected to the San Jose City Council.

"For people to not vote is to not only skirt their responsibility but to let somebody else be in charge of their lives," she said. "I think that's shameful."

Consulting firm Political Data Intelligence estimates only 25% of eligible voters actually voted. The highest turnout was among white voters at just 30%. Among African Americans, it was 25%. Among Asian Americans, it was 24%.

Political analysts have called Latinos the sleeping giant because of their huge voter potential. That giant woke up a few years ago with a large Latino turnout in the presidential election. Now, some wonder if the political giant has gone back to sleep.

The Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley said there needs to be a deep dive to find the root cause of Latino voter apathy and things need to be turned around in time for the November elections.

As for a silver lining, the group said Latinos in Santa Clara County overwhelmingly won or are in the lead going into the November runoffs.

"There have been times and there will be times when Latinos will manifest their voices at the polls," Alvarado said. "And we will be holding people accountable."

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