LOS ANGELES - The U.S. is seeing record voter turnout, especially from minority voters, and those voters could end up determining who wins the Presidential election in 2020.
Data from exit polls show Black, Latino, Asian, and Native Americans are voting with record numbers. Issues like COVID-19 disproportionately impacting people of color, and racial injustice movements like Black Lives Matter are driving some people to the polls.
However, it does not mean all minorities are voting one way.
USC Law Professor, Jody Armour, breaks down the Black vote so far.
"The Black vote is the backbone of the Democratic Party for sure. It has been the most loyal and reliable constituency. It helped to pull [Joe Biden] out of what looked like a disastrous run in the primaries when Black voters turned out in South Carolina and other states and revived his candidacy, and that's in spite of being arguably ignored by Democrats, and taken for granted," said Armour.
Armour said Black voters want to see a "return on their investment" from the Democratic Party.
"Many people in the Black community say you [Democrats] kind of take us for granted because, you know, we don't seem to have any alternative and when we look for alternatives, sometimes you'll criticize us and stigmatize us. In the streets this summer, you had people marching for criminal justice reform, generational upheaval for weeks on end and yet, the Democratic Party had at the top of its ticket one person who is considered one of the architects of mass incarceration, Joe Biden, who has his name on the 1994 crime bill and Kamala Harris who has a pretty difficult record as a law-and-order prosecutor who, as an attorney general, also was not very responsive to concerns of people who wanted criminal justice reform," said Armour.
However, Armour explained how Black voters are making a difference in battleground states like Michigan with votes from the primarily Black community of Detroit helping secure the state for Biden.
"Black people turned out in great numbers for Joe Biden. We're talking for Black women, it's over 90 percent. For Black men, it's over 80 percent. Those are huge demographic numbers," said Armour.
The Latino vote is also key in the 2020 election in states like Florida and Arizona.
"The Latino vote has grown and grown over the years as more and more Latinos are eligible to vote and organizations across the country are really raising the level of awareness about how important it is to vote for these folks [Latinos] and a lot of them are participating," said Hernan Molina, a political analyst.
Molina describes the Latino vote as "very diverse."
"In the case of Florida, you have a lot of Cubans who are anti-Castro, and people like Venezuelans who have been exposed to socialism and the negative side of it and people who are Nicaraguan. Then you come to the southwest and come to California, and that's mainly Mexican American. You have the generational issue, third-generation Mexican Chicano, who lives in Southern California, then you have the recently immigrated ones in between. Obviously people from different backgrounds, different experiences tend to vote differently," he said.
Molina explains the differences between how the groups of Latinos voted in the election.
"The law-and-order topic was a very important topic for the Cuban, Venezuelan, Nicaraguan communities in South Florida, which President Trump obviously managed very well. The issue of COVID and its impact on essential workers, like what's happened here in Southern California, has been something Vice President Biden managed quite well, and obviously. a lot of people were swayed by that issue and supported the Vice President," said Molina.
Molina said both parties have trouble understanding the complexity of the Latino vote.
"There needs to be an investment in trying to understand the issues better, to connect with them [Latinos], and not wait until there is an election coming up to raise awareness about the importance of voting. Latino folks who come to this country are smart like everybody else. They don't want to be used. They want to be part of the solution, but they also want to be part of their own solutions, and be able to provide that input," said Molina.
However, the minority vote is proving important in the 2020 election and will continue to be a factor as counting continues in battleground states. If Vice President Biden wins the 2020 election, Armour said the Democratic Party needs to do some reflecting afterwards.
"What should be sobering for Democrats is that even with an unpopular President that in the eyes of many botched his response to the COVID pandemic, the once-in-a-100 year health crisis and safety crisis, you still had a nail-biter squeaker of an election," said Armour.