Hispanic & Latino, AAPI communities show largest jump in voting-age population ahead of primary

U.S. Census data shows the share of both electorates reaches nearly 10%
Posted at 11:36 AM, Aug 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-09 11:50:24-04

MILWAUKEE, Wisc. — The 2020 U.S. Census showed some interesting information when it comes to population growth in Wisconsin.

For people who identify as Hispanic/Latino or Asian American Pacific Islander, the state saw the biggest jump within the voting-age communities, or people who are 18 or over and are eligible to register.

Together, the two groups reached a combined total of nearly 10% of the population for the first time.

“Voting is your superpower; voting is your voice. Don't think about the politics. Think about the issues that affect you and your family,” said Christina Thor, AAPI Coalition of Wisconsin member.

Pew Research data shows 4.2% of Wisconsin’s eligible voter population is Latino, while the AAPI share of the electorate in Wisconsin is 3.3%

According to AAPI Data, from 2012 to 2018, the number of eligible AAPI voters in the state grew by 38%, with a fifth of them living in Milwaukee County.

AAPI Coalition of Wisconsin member Christina Thor says a key way organizations are trying to harness that vote is by focusing on education and engagement.

“Go straight to ‘What do you care about? What policy has affected you? What economic impacts have affected you?’ and go from there,” said Thor.

For the Hispanic/Latino community in Wisconsin, statistics show more than 114,000 voting-eligible residents live within the three congressional districts surrounding the Milwaukee area.

Voces de la Frontera Executive Director Christine Neumann-Ortiz says many of these people come from mixed-status homes, meaning one or more members of the household may identify as undocumented, permanent residents or first-generation voters.

Neumann-Ortiz says this perspective can influence how someone chooses to exercise their right to vote.

“For a lot of our folks, when people vote, they're voting for somebody they love,“ said Neumann-Ortiz. “Voting is a privilege and we do it not just for ourselves, but for our community and the kinds of changes we need to see.”

While primary and municipal election historically have low voter turnout, both women say that shouldn’t discourage those who can vote to do so.

Both women said that while many of the candidates running for local and statewide elections haven’t reached out to their organizations directly, they’re hopeful that may change as the general election draws nearer.

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