What Gen Z Latino Voters Want America To Know : Code Switch For the first time in election history, Latinos are projected to be the second-largest voting demographic in the country. The reason? Gen Z Latinx voters, many of whom are casting a ballot for the first time in 2020. So we asked a bunch of them: Who do you plan to vote for? What issues do you care about? And what do you want the rest of the country to know about you?
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The Latinx Vote Comes Of Age

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The Latinx Vote Comes Of Age

The Latinx Vote Comes Of Age

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SHEREEN MARISOL MERAJI, HOST:

I'm Shereen Marisol Meraji.

GENE DEMBY, HOST:

I'm Gene Demby. And this is CODE SWITCH.

MERAJI: From NPR.

DEMBY: All right. So you've got the Black vote. You've got the youth vote. You got the women's vote.

MERAJI: Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Perennial voter demographic stories, we've all heard them. We hear them every time there's an election. And I don't know about you, Gene, but my instinct is to deeply sigh and to roll my eyes whenever I come across one of these because they're usually so played.

DEMBY: So played. And tellingly, Shereen, we have just a group of shorthands and euphemisms for white people - for white voters - middle America, rural voters, blue-collar voters, the working class, soccer moms, evangelicals, the silent majority. I mean, damn.

MERAJI: So many.

DEMBY: So many ways to say white.

MERAJI: (Laughter) So many ways to say white. Well, this time around, there's some code switching news in terms of voter demos of color, or should I say BIPOC voter demographics.

DEMBY: I hate you. I hate you.

MERAJI: (Laughter) And the news is that Latinx voter eligibility has surpassed Black voter eligibility.

DEMBY: Right. That's right because Latinx voters are projected, in this election, to be the second-largest demographic behind white voters. That's going to be the very first time that's ever happened.

MERAJI: And a huge reason for that growth is this.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Speaking Spanish).

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing in Spanish).

MERAJI: U.S.-born Latinos are turning 18 in record numbers, like Fernando Camarillo Gutierrez.

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing in Spanish).

DEMBY: (Singing) Happy birthday to - sorry.

MERAJI: So the defining characteristic of the Latinx vote, Gene, it's our youthful glow, of course.

DEMBY: Of course, Shereen. That's your defining characteristic as well.

MERAJI: That supple skin. That's right.

DEMBY: So a thing we should know is that voters in the youngest voting eligible generations, that's millennials - like me - and Gen Zers are much browner - much browner than older generations and much more Democratic leaning than older voters. By 2028, these younger, browner voters will dwarf older generations in terms of voters and in terms of eligible voters. That's according to a think tank called States of Change.

MERAJI: And young Latinos are driving that. We are the youngest voting demographic, and we will be for quite some time. But don't take my word for it.

MATT BARRETO: We have the most voters under the age of 30 of any other racial and ethnic group.

MERAJI: That's Matt Barreto. He's an expert on all things Latinx vote. He's a poli sci and Chicano studies professor at UCLA. And he co-founded the polling and research firm Latino Decisions. He's also been working with the Biden campaign since this past July.

BARRETO: In Arizona, there are a 156,000 Latinos - U.S. born, eligible to vote in this election - that were in high school four years ago in the Clinton-Trump election. Hillary Clinton lost Arizona by about 90,000 votes. In Texas, there are 730,000 U.S.-born Latinos who were high school students in the Clinton-Trump election that are now eligible voters - 730,000. That doesn't count any 24-, 25-, 29-year-old who feels empowered to vote in this election. We're just talking about brand-new, first presidential election ever.

MERAJI: That's a lot. That's huge.

DEMBY: That is a lot.

MERAJI: And according to the Pew Research Center, the states where you're going to find the most eligible Latino voters are - no surprise - my home state California, then Texas, Florida, New York and Arizona.

DEMBY: On this episode, we are going to talk to some of these first-time Latinx voters about what's driving them to the polls or to the mailbox or the secure drop box thing.

MERAJI: Yep. We are going to talk with first-time voters like the one who we just heard blowing out his birthday candles. Fernando's Arizona born, lived in Mexico half his life.

FERNANDO CAMARILLO GUTIERREZ: Hey, I am voting in the state of New York in the 2020 election.

ELIZABETH CAMARILLO GUTIERREZ: Hi. My name is Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez. I am 25 years old, and I will be voting in the 2020 election in the state of New York. Fernando is my little brother. Fer, I've already voted in a presidential election. You remember that. But this is going to be your first time. So how are you feeling about it?

F CAMARILLO GUTIERREZ: I'm really excited about this. I think it is a great opportunity that my voice is going to be heard and to be able to represent my family.

E CAMARILLO GUTIERREZ: The first time I voted, obviously, representing my family was really important because I was the first one in my family to vote. And now it's going to be two of us, so it's going to be fun. So what issues do you think that a president should prioritize and why?

F CAMARILLO GUTIERREZ: Immigration. Immigration laws separated my family and me and my sister, so I just want the president to at least understand the situation and improve it.

DEMBY: Huh. Shereen, what's the story there behind the family separation that he just mentioned?

MERAJI: Well, it's an episode-long saga.

DEMBY: I'm sure.

MERAJI: It's an entire CODE SWITCH episode on its own. But the short story is that both Elizabeth and Fernando were born in Arizona, but their parents' visas expired. And they were told that if they went back to Mexico the renewal process would be easier.

DEMBY: Ugh, we already know where this is going.

MERAJI: Yeah. They figured it was going to be a quick trip, so Elizabeth and Fernando stayed behind with extended family. It was not a quick trip. Their visas were denied twice. And they were warned that if they applied again, they'd be barred from entering the U.S. for years.

DEMBY: So what happened to Elizabeth and Fernando once their parents weren't allowed back into the U.S.?

MERAJI: Well, Elizabeth was 15 at the time; Fernando was 8. And so they moved back to Mexico to live with their parents. But Elizabeth forced the issue. She went on a hunger strike.

DEMBY: Wow.

MERAJI: She was not playing. And she demanded that her parents let her live with extended family in Arizona to finish high school.

DEMBY: Damn. OK, Elizabeth. She's about that life.

MERAJI: Yes. And she did. She did just that. She finished high school. She went to college. And as soon as she got her first job out of college in New York City, she sent for her brother. Fernando is a senior this year.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

E CAMARILLO GUTIERREZ: Obviously, immigration is really important to us. Are there any other issues that you think that a president should be able to prioritize?

F CAMARILLO GUTIERREZ: Climate change. I think climate change could affect the poor communities. And I am from a poor community, so I want that to improve.

E CAMARILLO GUTIERREZ: Climate change is already affecting so many things, whether it be hotter days or, like, flooding and more hurricanes and stuff like that. So I definitely feel you on that one. So I'm curious - how do you think that these last four years have gone by, right? I mean, you moved back to the U.S. after living in Mexico for a while, about three years ago. So you've been through most of the Trump presidency, if not watching from, you know, a bit afar. So how do you think these last four years have gone?

F CAMARILLO GUTIERREZ: Funny. Comically bad, to be honest. There's so many problems going on. And, you know, President Trump hasn't been the best in being able to resolve those, especially COVID-19.

E CAMARILLO GUTIERREZ: The last four years have been, like you said, comically bad. It's kind of like we're in an episode of "Veep." But this is real life.

F CAMARILLO GUTIERREZ: Yeah.

E CAMARILLO GUTIERREZ: And we never know what's going to happen in 2020 at this point.

F CAMARILLO GUTIERREZ: Yeah.

E CAMARILLO GUTIERREZ: But we're going to be voting. So I guess we'll be ready.

DEMBY: So Fernando is a first-time voter.

MERAJI: Yep.

DEMBY: And to him, the most important issues are climate change and immigration.

MERAJI: He's also really concerned with racial justice. And those issues, you know, with the exception of immigration, are really high for most Gen Z voters, according to a ton of surveys that are out there. And in terms of immigration, the closer you are to the immigration experience, the more likely that's going to top your list of priorities, too, no matter how old you are.

DEMBY: And, obviously, Elizabeth and Fernando are very close to that issue.

MERAJI: Yes. They're from Arizona. They were born in Arizona. That show-me-your-papers SB 1070 law...

DEMBY: Yep.

MERAJI: ...It made a lasting impression on them.

DEMBY: So, I guess, I'm taking it they're not voting for Donald Trump.

MERAJI: No.

(LAUGHTER)

MERAJI: They already voted for the Biden-Harris ticket. In fact, they went on the Saturday before we recorded this and stood in line for four hours...

DEMBY: God damn.

MERAJI: ...In front of the Brooklyn Museum so they could vote in person. They got their I-voted stickers and everything. And when it comes to a vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, they've got a lot of company because 70% of Latinos vote Democrat. But not everyone in this episode is riding for Biden.

DEMBY: I see what you did.

(LAUGHTER)

MERAJI: But you're going to have to wait until after the break to hear who.

DEMBY: Stay with us.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DEMBY: Gene.

MERAJI: Shereen.

DEMBY: CODE SWITCH.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MERAJI: We're hearing from first-time Latinx voters ahead of the election, where Latinos make up the second-largest demographic of eligible voters.

DEMBY: And I feel like we've been listening to political pundits and journalists call Latino voters a sleeping giant for, like - for the longest, at least since CODE SWITCH has been around.

MERAJI: Oh, you have indeed, even before CODE SWITCH was around. Here's NPR in 2008.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

LYNN NEARY: The presidential candidates know that this election year, a sleeping giant is slowly awakening.

MERAJI: (Laughter) NPR, once again, 10 years prior, in 1998.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: For years, California's Latino vote was called a sleeping giant. But over the past few years, that giant has been waking up.

MERAJI: And here's NPR again, way back in 1976, before you and I were born, Gene.

DEMBY: Long before. Long before.

MERAJI: No comment.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: Does the Chicano vote mean anything to the politicians today?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #3: It's starting to, Jose (ph). Many of them are realizing the potential of the so-called sleeping giant, which is no longer sleeping.

MERAJI: That was 1976. So this exhausted mammoth analogy has been reused and recycled for almost 50 years. And the entire time, the mammoth was just about to wake up.

DEMBY: (Laughter) Exhausted mammoth? What?

MERAJI: I was sick of saying sleeping giant. I couldn't say it again.

GERALDO CADAVA: The image of the sleeping giant - not a great image (laughter).

DEMBY: Yeah, I keep imagining, like, a 300-foot Puerto Rican wearily grinding men's bones for his bread.

MERAJI: (Laughter).

DEMBY: Wait. Who was that, by the way?

MERAJI: Geraldo Cadava. He's a historian that teaches at Northwestern University.

CADAVA: There are all of these caricatures of Mexicans dating back to the early to mid-20th century of us wearing serapes and sombreros, leaning against a wall with a bottle of tequila next to us, you know? So we're always, like, asleep and lazy. And, you know, it kind of plays into this idea that we're apathetic. So I think the whole image is not great.

But there is this tension between - you know, this year, a Latino becomes eligible to vote every 30 seconds. And there are going to be a million more Latino voters this time than four years ago. So that's why I think the idea still exists. But there has also been this ongoing sense that we're punching below our weight. We're not reaching our full potential because we don't show up, because we don't, you know, register to vote at as high numbers as other groups.

DEMBY: Yeah. Another perennial election story next to the sleeping giant one is that Latinos don't show up to vote. That's the sleeping part, I guess.

MERAJI: Yep.

DEMBY: Turnout for Latinx voters is consistently below white and Black voters.

MERAJI: That's true. And one big reason is that Latinos feel alienated from the political process. Historically, we haven't received consistent outreach from any party. I saw a poll from Latino Decisions from August, which, as you know, is not that long ago, where more than two-thirds - two-thirds - of Latino voters polled said they had not been contacted by either Republicans nor Democrats ahead of this election.

DEMBY: What?

MERAJI: Yes, two-thirds.

DEMBY: What?

MERAJI: (Laughter).

DEMBY: That just seems like malpractice on the part of these campaigns. They're just, like, voters you have sitting out there, reachable voters. And you've talked about this before, Shereen. You've written about it, this idea of Hispandering (ph) that politicians do towards Latinos, you know, come election time.

MERAJI: Yep.

DEMBY: You wrote that the outreach to Latinos is often just a mess. It's cheesy. It's unsophisticated. It doesn't take into account differences in race, differences in class, you know, which part of the country people live in, which language they prefer to speak, the country of origin of their families, how long they've been in the U.S.

MERAJI: Yeah. There's a lot to think about.

DEMBY: Yeah. All these things determine who you might vote for or whether you vote at all.

MERAJI: And age. Age matters, too, which is what we're talking about on this episode, especially when it comes to voter turnout.

BARRETO: So young people of all racial and ethnic groups have had lower voter turnout rates than older folks for a very long time in the United States. It's what we call in political science the life cycle effect.

MERAJI: That's Matt Barreto again. We heard his voice earlier. He's a polisci (ph) professor who co-founded Latino Decisions.

BARRETO: A lot of times when you're younger, you don't connect the dots as well to how your vote impacts public policy, impacts your daily life. After you get a little bit older - you've got a family, you've got kids in public school, maybe you have a mortgage payment or your rent keeps going up - you start to realize how your vote really impacts your life. And so eventually, we start to see higher turnout rates of everyone across the racial and ethnic spectrum.

MERAJI: So when it comes to the Latinx vote, the youngest voting demographic, outreach has to be tailored to eligible voters who aren't sure if their vote's going to make any kind of difference. And Matt told me - and this surprised me, by the way. He told me that civic organizations that have been the most successful have focused on down ballot issues, like state initiatives.

BARRETO: They may pass by one or two or 3%. That could be young people turning out to vote in high rates. Whether you're talking about criminal justice reform, climate change, labor rights, racial and ethnic equity - we have - all of these issues are on the ballot in California this year. And so as you see that connection to your vote can actually change public policy, you start to see people voting at much higher rates. So that's what groups need to do. They need to connect the dots for voters. And if you don't have that and it's just out there screaming vote - you know, a lot of young people will ask you, why? What is that getting me?

DEMBY: Oh, my God. I cannot stand vote-shaming. That's one of the reasons why - like, yelling at people to vote and the importance of voting is just, like, this very abstract thing if you don't come from a family or a community where people vote.

MERAJI: Yeah.

DEMBY: I sort of wonder if all this excitement about this huge group of eligible, first-time voters, if it's going to just end up with a lot of disappointment after November 3, you know?

MERAJI: Yeah. I asked Matt about that. And he says he's cautiously optimistic. And he used an example from the 2018 midterms, where Latinx voters had historic turnout in Arizona. And they helped to elect the first Arizona Democrat in 30 years to the U.S. Senate. And, you know, presidential election years always bring out more voters.

DEMBY: Right. Right.

MERAJI: So Matt's taking that as a sign that voter turnout will be even higher this time around, at least in Arizona, which, as we know, is a totally crucial swing state.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

HEBER TOSCANO: My name is Heber Toscano. And I am currently 19 years of age and residing in Tempe, Ariz.

MERAJI: Heber Toscano is the next first-time voter we're going to hear from. He's registered to vote in Arizona. But...

TOSCANO: I was born in El Paso, Texas, so border city. And right across the city is the - they call it the sister city, but it's Juarez, Mexico. All of my family - like, grandparents, uncles, primos - you know, all of - they all live in Juarez. So I would go over, really, a lot, over there to Juarez.

MERAJI: Heber eventually moved to Juarez in 2010 because his mom was trying to get her immigration paperwork sorted out.

TOSCANO: We were living over there with my grandma. And you can think of the room being the size of, like, your average college dorm. It was really, really small where we lived. And then we have a big family. And we didn't go to school in Juarez because, first, you've got to pay the government to attend school over there. And at that time, Juarez was the most dangerous city in the world.

DEMBY: Yeah. I mean, he is not exaggerating. There were all sorts of, like, scary headlines in the states. Like, Ciudad Juarez is more dangerous than Afghanistan. And, you know, in 2010, there were cartels fighting over territory there, and more than 3,000 people were murdered.

MERAJI: Yep.

DEMBY: So yeah. But back to Heber, he just didn't go to school because it was so violent?

MERAJI: No, he did. He did. Heber told me he'd get up at 3 o'clock in the morning so a family member could drive him to school in El Paso.

DEMBY: Wow.

MERAJI: They had to get up at that time because, you know, the line to cross the border was hours long.

TOSCANO: Got there, like, around 7:00. That's when school started. And, I mean, waking up really early, of course, we were hungry. We were sleep deprived sometimes. It's - you can't really sleep very comfortably in the back of a car (laughter).

MERAJI: Heber told me he can't shake that experience, living for that year in Juarez, and it shaped his political beliefs. So he's voting for the Trump-Pence ticket.

DEMBY: That is not where I thought that was going, Shereen. What? (Laughter).

MERAJI: Yeah. He told me that strong law enforcement, a safe border - those are priorities for him. So is small government. And that means a vote for Donald Trump.

TOSCANO: Because he keeps the government away from our affairs. I know what a failed government looks like - in Mexico. The government of Mexico has really, really failed their people, and I got to see that. Even the police themselves in Juarez were really corrupt, paid by the cartels themselves. Over there, you just don't trust the government.

DEMBY: It's always so fascinating to hear people say, you know, on one hand, they want smaller government. They want, you know, a smaller state presence in their lives. But, also, they want expanded police powers. They want a bigger police state. Anyway.

TOSCANO: (Laughter) I never really speak of my political views because I know they're controversial, and I know - it's something personal to me because of what I've lived through. You know, we get called all kinds of names. You know, it's like - (speaking Spanish) - for Hispanics, Caucasian lovers. You know, there's all - you got the (speaking Spanish) - like, you really - you think you're a gringo now.

DEMBY: I mean, Heber may not be a gringo, but he might be a unicorn, a brown unicorn?

MERAJI: (Laughter) He might be because young Latinx voters, they skew even more Democratic than the general Latinx vote. But if a Latino is going to vote for Trump, they're more likely to be a man.

DEMBY: Which is also true of Black voters.

MERAJI: And all voters, really. Donald Trump is much more popular with men than women amongst almost every racial demographic. Here's Geraldo Cadava again. He wrote "The Hispanic Republican: The Shaping Of An American Political Identity, From Nixon To Trump."

CADAVA: Latino males are overrepresented in professions like the Border Patrol or the U.S. military or police departments, which tend to have this kind of masculine culture already, and they're professions that skew toward Republicans. I would point to those kinds of things as an explanation for why male Latino youth might be drawn to Donald Trump.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MERAJI: Well, Alejandro Vasquez (ph) is repelled by Donald Trump (laughter). He's 18 and from Norwalk, Conn.

ALEJANDRO VASQUEZ: Both my parents are Colombian. I grew up with my mom. She's fully Colombian. Like, I have - wait. I have two necklaces on at all times. One of them is Colombia with a Colombian emerald.

MERAJI: Colombia is one of the largest emerald producers in the world - a little South American trivia for you.

DEMBY: I did not know that, Shereen.

MERAJI: (Laughter).

DEMBY: I'm going to tuck that away for the next CODE SWITCH geography bee, you know what I mean?

MERAJI: Now you know, and knowing is half the battle. So along with his...

DEMBY: (Singing) G.I. Joe.

MERAJI: ...Colombian emerald necklace...

(LAUGHTER)

MERAJI: ...Alejandro wears another one that says Paisa, a nickname for Colombians from Medellin, which is where his family is originally from. But Alejandro's mom raised him in Connecticut.

VASQUEZ: We're pretty poor. My parents got divorced when I was really young. My mom, she is a house cleaner. She's been cleaning for 30 years now. She's done a lot. She's, like, basically uprooted her whole life and then kind of been supporting me as much as she can, which I - she's, like, just the biggest inspiration to me. Now I do everything for her.

DEMBY: Aw.

MERAJI: Yes. And Alejandro really wants to make the world a better place for his mom. He wants to be a full-time international organizer. He's already organizing. He works with a climate justice group called Extinction Rebellion and another activist group called Latinx Lideres, which is modeled off the Young Lords.

DEMBY: Oh, the Young Lords. That's your people, Shereen.

MERAJI: Yes.

DEMBY: They're Puerto Ricans.

MERAJI: (Non-English language spoken).

DEMBY: They were active in New York City in the late '60s and the mid-'70s. They were influenced by the Black Panthers.

MERAJI: So you're not going to be surprised when I tell you that Alejandro calls his politics radical (laughter).

DEMBY: Right (laughter).

MERAJI: So much so that he told me that his vote in the primaries for Bernie Sanders felt like a compromise.

DEMBY: So is Alejandro going to sit this one out or...

MERAJI: No. No, no. No, he voted early, actually. And he voted for the Green Party candidate, Howie Hawkins. For those of you who have never heard his name, that is his name - Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for president. And because Connecticut is reliably blue and because Alejandro is totally sick of this binary system, that's where he placed his vote.

VASQUEZ: I think people are doing a terrible job of getting young people to vote because they, like, are trying to, like, fit us in their system that, like, is inherently, like, against, like, a radical, like, teenager's thought. Like, I don't want to support this person that, like, voted on the 1994 crime bill; I don't want to do that. And then people are like, why aren't young people voting? It's because politics is terrible in the U.S. That's why young people aren't voting. If youth were taught the actual history of the U.S., young people would be political. The problem is that it would be way to one side and the current politics is way to the other side.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

VICTOR SAMUEL MARTINEZ-RIVERA: It's sort of a hard pill to swallow when, at the end of the day, you know that both candidates are not picture perfect.

MERAJI: That's Victor Samuel Martinez-Rivera.

MARTINEZ-RIVERA: I am turning 23 today, actually.

MERAJI: Happy birthday.

MARTINEZ-RIVERA: Thank you. Yeah. And I'm from Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, but I've been living in Orlando, Fla., for the past three years now.

MERAJI: Victor moved to Orlando just a few months after Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico. He was one of the 50,000-plus Puerto Ricans who left for Florida that year alone. And as we said a few times on the show, Puerto Ricans living on the islands can't vote for president. But if they move stateside, they can.

MARTINEZ-RIVERA: We, as Puerto Ricans, are U.S. citizens. We have been for the longest time. But at the same time, we have been stripped of the rights to express or participate in this process, which is just extremely unfair and extremely unjust.

DEMBY: Ah, colonialism.

MERAJI: Yeah, I know. But now Victor gets to have his say. He's an official resident of Orlando, Fla., and he's participating in his first presidential election.

DEMBY: And there are a lot of Puerto Ricans in central Florida...

MERAJI: Yes.

DEMBY: ...And more now because of the hurricane. Donald Trump has held multiple rallies there ahead of the election because if you win central Florida, you win Florida.

MERAJI: Yeah.

DEMBY: So if Trump loses central Florida, it does not bode well for him.

MERAJI: Nope. And even though Victor's not thrilled with the Biden-Harris ticket, he does not want four more years of Donald Trump. He does not. He told me his top three issues are human rights, climate change and health care. And he said that as a queer Puerto Rican, he's felt a lot of fear and anxiety with Mr. Trump at the helm.

MARTINEZ-RIVERA: I came here, and immediately I'm faced with discrimination. And I'm faced with stares. Or I'm faced with reading the news about another Black person being killed just because of their skin color or another trans woman being killed because of their identity. And - so I am taking this fear, and I'm taking these emotions, and I'm stepping up.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FERNANDA RUIZ MARTINEZ: We finally have, like, power in the sense, you know? We are the biggest ethnic voting bloc.

MERAJI: That last voice we're going to hear from belongs to...

MARTINEZ: Fernanda Ruiz Martinez - and I live in Phoenix, Ariz.

MERAJI: Fernanda's 19 and studying journalism at Arizona State. And she's been doing volunteer voter outreach to the Latino community since high school.

MARTINEZ: I'm trying to emphasize to them how important it is to vote in the local elections to make them understand that there's people within your neighborhood who will be affected because of the representative that gets elected.

DEMBY: So it sounds like she's been doing exactly what Matt Barreto says needs to happen.

MERAJI: Yeah. She told me she really tries to keep her pitch personal and local, but that didn't stop a lot of people from hanging up on her before she could make that pitch.

DEMBY: Yeah, I'm sure. Sure.

MERAJI: That's a hard job.

DEMBY: Who did she vote for?

MERAJI: Oh, Fernanda didn't want to get into the specifics about her top issues or who she voted for because, you know, journalism ethics (laughter). But she did have a message for reporters for post-November 3.

MARTINEZ: Sometimes I just feel like they are aware that we are important. But at the end of the day, we are not going to get the respect that we deserve. After the elections, they're going to still portraying us with, like, stereotypes. And they are just going to forget about, like, writing stories that actually reflect who we are. And it's a lot of research, you know? You have to learn more about our culture. You have to learn about our history.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MERAJI: And I think we'll leave it right there. That's our show. Subscribe to CODE SWITCH wherever you get your podcasts. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @NPRCodeSwitch. Follow me @RadioMirage. Follow Gene at G-E-E-D-E-E-2-1-5 - that's @geedee215. Sign up for our newsletter at npr.org/newsletters. Also, there was a great interview on the podcast called It's Been a Minute about the Latinx vote with Berkeley professor Lisa Garcia Bedolla. She wrote the book "Latino Politics," so go check that out, too, right after this. The episode is called They've Dismissed Us.

DEMBY: You can also check out our OnlyFans. No one came to our OnlyFans last week when I shouted it out - anyway, our episode was produced by Jess Kung and Natalie Escobar with help from Leah Donnella and you, Shereen. It was edited by Leah.

MERAJI: And a big shout out to Mi Familia Vota and One Arizona who helped us find our first-time voters. And to all of you who responded to our callout on social media, thank you so, so much. And a shout out to the rest of the CODE SWITCH team - Karen Grigsby Bates, Kumari Devarajan, Alyssa Jeong Perry, LA Johnson and Steve Drummond. Our intern is Alyssa Baheza, and she helped fact-check this episode. I'm Shereen Marisol Meraji.

DEMBY: I'm Gene Demby. Be easy, y'all.

MERAJI: Peace.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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