Republicans, Advocates Examine Low Voter Turnout in the Basin - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: |

Republicans, Advocates Examine Low Voter Turnout in the Basin

By Alicia Neaves
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN - Low voter turnout may have helped Republicans make a clean sweep in the elections. Some of the people who didn't show up to cast their ballot? Latinos. Some think they could have changed the outcome of some tight races.

Advocates have diagnosed the low Latino vote in Tuesday's election to voter apathy, due to inaction on immigration and low voter turnout in general during the midterm elections.

After an overwhelming victory by Republicans, NewsWest 9 set out to learn what their comeback means for us in the Basin.

"We really saw a lot of voter fatigue this election," Midland County Republican Chairman, James Beauchamp, said.

Midland County had one contested race in Tuesday's election and an overall low voter turnout.

The same goes for Ector County. Research done by Una Voz Unida of Odessa shows that only 22% of registered voters cast their ballots.

"What we're getting as a whole from across the nation is that Black and Hispanic didn't turn out and the youth voter didn't turn out for the Democrats. Now, as far as Republicans, seniors turned out in high numbers for the Republicans," Art Leal, President and Chairman of Una Voz Unida of Odessa, said.

With Hispanics making up only 8% of voters nationwide in the general election, Beauchamp says the Republican party's engagement with Latinos and other key groups isn't a choice. It's necessary.

"Our real issue on the Republican side though is to continue to get more young people, particularly more young females. That 21 to 44-year-old age demographic that are vital," Beauchamp said.

But it's not just a visit to the Basin that will secure votes. It's the connection the candidates make with their potential constituents.

"Most people, when they go to vote, don't go because they have a burning desire to vote Republican. They're generally inspired by a connection that they have with candidates on the ballot," Beauchamp said.

A big task going forward for the Republican Party, they say, is to get nearly 1,000 people - just in Midland County - to be registered to vote all over again. That group makes up those who come to work in the Basin temporarily.

Despite low voter turnout in our area, advocates are keeping the faith.

"We can't give up. Every vote is important. So we need to continue to let people know that their voice matters," Leal said.
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