High turnout in Texas border counties with large Latino populations

Election Day on the Border

WESLACO, Texas -- On the Texas border, a record number of people went to the polls during early voting, with more expected during Election Day. 

People trickled in and out one of the main polling stations in Weslaco, Texas, which adds to the already breaking number of votes cast last week during early voting.

To understand the Latino vote, KENS 5 Border Team looked at Hidalgo County, which is a microcosm of what is happening nationally.

No democrat has taken Texas since 1976 but talks about Texas turning purple this election is in part due to the strong Latino turnout.

Out of the 14 counties along the southern border, only three don't have a Hispanic majority, but they are also some of the smallest in population.

All but two, Terrell and Starr counties, have registered higher number of votes during early voting than in 2012 including El Paso, Webb, Hidalgo and Cameron counties, which happen to have the largest Hispanic population along the border.

The current rhetoric around illegal immigration and the border wall could help explain the turnout, but growth in the Latino population is another factor. 

"We have had consistently low voter turnout,” said Hidalgo County Elections Administrator Yvonne Ramon. “So the fact that we are looking and seeing an increase in voters, we shall see if our Hispanic community is taking that very important step and pushing and I do believe that 2016 will be that baseline from which all numbers will be compared."

At the polls, some border resident’s said they have more than one reason to vote in this election.

“There’s just not enough importance that they’ve giving us as a Latino,” said Latino voter Leticia Lazo. “We need to be heard out, and the only way to be heard out is to actually make our vote county.”

Isaias Irisson, another Hispanic voter, believes the numbers are attributed to the growth in the population.

“They know how to make a lot of babies,” Irisson said jokingly. “They have to understand how important it is to vote. That if you don’t vote and you have the right to vote and you just stay home, then you’re really losing out.”

The elections administrator also noted that there's been a concerted effort over the last few years by local government to reach out to voters on the border and get them to the polls. She expects high turnout on this last day of voting.

(© 2016 KENS)


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