There has not been a surge of Puerto Ricans registering to vote in Florida despite the tens of thousands who settled in the Sunshine State in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, The Washington Post reports.
The prevailing wisdom was that the influx of new Puerto Rican voters could alter the dynamics of Florida in the upcoming midterms and the 2020 presidential election.
Prevailing wisdom bucked, so far.
Best estimates put the number of Puerto Ricans who settled in Florida at roughly 50,000, but at least for now, they're not registering to vote. Just 21 percent of the 326,000 new registered voters in the months after Hurricane Maria were Hispanic, not necessarily all Puerto Rican, the Post reports.
Further, the two Orlando-area counties that has seen the biggest uptick of Puerto Ricans settling there have just a modest increase of new voter registrations, the Post reports.
“The concern I’ve had for a while is that … the Maria impact was probably not going to be as significant as people initially thought,” Democratic strategist Steve Schale told the Post.
The potential reasons are plentiful. Democrats aren't doing enough legwork to register new Puerto Rican voters; it might be that the midterms aren't energizing the Puerto Rican community.
Or it could be more basic than that.
"Their main focus obviously is going to be survival,” State Democratic Rep. Amy Mercado told the Post. “They have to contend with trying to figure out their day-to-day lives. So, honestly, the last thing they’re thinking about is politics.”
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