MADISON (WKOW) -- Advocates for Latino, Black, and young voters say those voting blocks increased from previous elections and were difference makers in Wisconsin's record turn out Tuesday.
Officials say Wisconsin's voter turn out was its highest ever at 3.2 million.
Demographic data on Wisconsin's voters in the presidential election has yet to be available. But advocates for the young and for people of color say turn out of those communities was strong and in one case may have tilted the field in favor of former Vice President Joe Biden.
President Darryl Morin of Franklin-based Forward Latino says approximately 200,000 members of the Hispanic community were registered to vote in Wisconsin. Morin says indications are that community turned out in larger numbers this election than in the past both for early voting and at the polls. And he says the vast majority were unified in their presidential pick. "We're anticipating seeing anywhere from a 67 to 69% pro-Biden vote from the Latino community here in Wisconsin," Morin says. He says get out the vote outreach in recent weeks found community members receptive. "What was reaffirming and reassuring was that people were grateful for the information, they wanted to know how to engage in the process to make sure they were going to be doing it properly because they knew a change in their elected leadership could be the only thing that could help improve their situations," Morin says.
Morin says Latino voters have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, fueling their drive to vote in some cases.
Another group disproportionately compromised by COVID-19 has been black voters. Madison-based Freedom Inc. Executive Director M Adams says voter encouragements began paying dividends with the black community during early voting. "Our communities are really impacted by COVID, so Freedom Inc. as well as others on the ground really did a lot of work to make sure our communities knew how they could access the early vote," Adams says. Adams says election day turn out in the black community also appears to have been strong.
Young voters were also courted on Wisconsin's college campuses and elsewhere in the run up to Tuesday's voting. Wisconsin Interfaith Engagement was a group doing outreach on the UW-Madison campus. "Hundreds of students were coming by to get registered to vote," says Pres House Associate Director of Campus Ministry Nii Addo Abrahams. "That was something that was really important to us, to be a place where students could get registered and could make sure they could.use their civic voice," he says.
From advocates to students, there's a sense all those registrations translated into action in early voting and on Tuesday. "I definitely feel like we have a lot of college students who decided to vote when maybe they usually wouldn't," says UW-Madison freshman Meryll Asher.
Asher says casting a ballot in her first vote for president and in a swing state was meaningful. "I definitely felt it would count and make a difference," she says.