Latinos react to the 2012 election

President Barack Obama claimed a second term in the White House, Tuesday, and a number of Chicago Latinos let out a sigh of relief.

“He deserves a second term because it will take another four years to fix this economic mess,” said Rosmary Sierra, a member of the Pilsen Alliance.

As 2nd and 7th precinct voters slowly gathered to cast their votes at the Chicago Public Library- Rudy Lozano Branch Tuesday morning, some hoped for a considerable Latino voter turnout.

“I have personally knocked on Hispanic residents’ doors in order to encourage voting, but I am waiting for it to pick up even more as the day progresses,” said 51-year-old poll worker Julia Morales, who has volunteered her time during election seasons over the last 16 years.

In Chicago, however, Latino participation tends to lag. Wards with high Latino populations frequently have around the lowest voter turnouts. Immigrant Connect Chicago, an online collaboration network, revealed that the predominantly Hispanic 12th Ward possessed the lowest figure of registrations of any ward in Chicago while the 22nd Ward ranked third with 14,961 registered voters.

Some attribute this to a sentiment of voter apathy among some Latino residents in Chicago. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, although Hispanics lean towards the Democrats almost three to one, a number of them also harness a disappointment in what president Obama failed to accomplish in the last four years.

“You will not necessarily hear anyone in [Pilsen] cry out in favor of Romney, but there is not the same level of excitement as there was for Obama back in 2008,” said Nelson Soza, executive director of the Pilsen Alliance, in his native Spanish. “Many Hispanics are somewhat disheartened that he didn’t follow through on some of his promises, but we are just hoping that these next four years will change for the better.”  

In the Humboldt Park area, several Latino voters stated that important issues like the need for access to jobs and a better economy influenced their decision-making process. Education, health care and immigration reform also ranked high among topics that some felt needed a continued effort from the White House so as to improve the situation in the United States.      

“There is still a lot of work to be done in order to turn this country around,” said Roberto Tanon, restaurant owner of La Bruquena located on Division Street. “It is not going to be easy, but somebody has got to do it.” Tanon revealed that he wishes the next four years will provide some glimmer of hope for Latinos not only in Chicago, but all over the nation.  

Still, he said: “It may sound clich?