LOS ANGELES — It's a rare moment of silence on Monday morning for stay-at-home mom of two, Veronica Rivera — especially after what's been a year she can only describe as “pure chaos," Rivera said.
"No actually, it was kind of abrupt just like everyone else’s lives changed in a day, mine did too.”
This week her mind isn't on what's happened in the past, it's on what could happen come Tuesday.
“Personally, I feel like the government is doing a horrible job and that’s why hopefully, we won’t have Newsom around much longer,” Rivera said.
Rivera is part of a statistically small, but enthusiastic portion of the Latino electorate, who are angry over Gov. Gavin Newsom's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and in favor of the recall election.
"They are trying to basically control you in your own household," Rivera said. "As soon as you step outside, to the store, to schools, I mean it just doesn’t add up. So I personally had a problem with the way the government was handling it."
And while everyone may not agree with her take on the pandemic, as part of the Latino electorate, she and others will stand to play a big role in the recall election.
Sonja Diaz, the founding director of UCLA's Latino Policy and Politics Initiative said that because Latinos are the largest minority group in California, and have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, they will be an important part of the recall — specifically for the current governor.
“And if they do in fact turn out, Gov. Gavin Newsom is going to remain in the governor’s mansion," Diaz said.
According to their research, while Latino voters are not a monolith, the group overwhelmingly supports the Democratic ticket. The problem is many may not be motivated to turn out and vote.
“The ballots to be cast and counted are going to overwhelmingly be from white Californians," Diaz explained. "It’s just in this election one side is very enthusiastic and the other doesn’t have a lot of information or really know what a recall is. The investment just isn’t there in the way that it should be to see a dramatic change in turnout."
To Diaz's point, Latino voters like Rivera are motivated to vote right away, believing the handling of the pandemic, coupled with issues like homelessness and the economy will be enough to push their cause through.
“It is kind of good in a way that he has pushed people so far and they are going and voting," Rivera said.
On the other side is concern from Diaz that Latino voters who might normally support the opposite will not be motivated to vote at all.
“Ultimately the recall is not going to see a majority of Hispanic voters supporting recall," she said. "But what may occur is that you don’t get enough Latinos to turnout because you didn’t invest in their turnout.”
Diaz believes that this election carries significant weight moving forward on how political parties motivate the electorate. She says looking to the 2022 midterms, there needs to be more done to mobilize voters.
"What we’re looking at is are you registering voters in an off cycle, mobilizing them?" Diaz said. "And if that’s not taking place then those voters are going to continue to be on the sidelines. This is important because we’re at a really critical juncture in our public policy scheme. They are going to want to be doing mobilization and messaging and investing in non-white voters, particularly in Southern California."
For now, voters like Rivera may be the most vocal and energized.
“Everyone is for it," Rivera said. "Latinos are going strong, but so is everyone else, people are done. We’re over it.
Latino voters like Rivera motivated to vote, while others who might disagree, just may not be voting in this election at all.