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Texas 2020 early voting surpasses 2016 total voter turnout

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A sign points the way to an early voting location in Phoenix, Arizona, on October 16. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Democrats are concerned about lower enthusiasm among Latino voters in the final days of the 2020 campaign, warning it could cause the party and its presidential nominee Joe Biden to come up short in key states on Election Day.

Latino voters make up large portions of the electorate in a number of crucial states, including two top battlegrounds — Arizona and Florida — as well as Texas, where Biden’s campaign is mounting a late push, and Nevada, where President Trump is seeking to broaden his own map.

They are also a smaller, but important, part of the electorate in other critical areas, including Philadelphia, the biggest city in what could be the most important state on this year’s electoral map.

And with polls consistently showing Biden with lower support among Latinos than Hillary Clinton had four years ago, party operatives, elected officials and activists — while crediting Biden with improving his standing since the summer, when concerns about his struggles with Latinos were at a peak — worry that a failure to effectively engage the community could hurt Democrats in close races up and down the ballot.

One particular concern: Trump’s inroads with Latino men.

“The Latino men, specifically those 50-to-75-years-old, are no different than White males in suburban communities,” said Philadelphia City Councilmember Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, a member of the Biden campaign’s Pennsylvania Latino Leadership Council. “They’re macho men and there’s parts of Trump’s personality that they like, and we needed to be able to have counter-messaging about how the family component of who they are is being attacked.”

Another concern is Biden’s on-the-ground engagement efforts. The coronavirus pandemic led his campaign to avoid door-to-door canvassing over the summer — a safety-focused decision that came at the cost of giving up many of the one-on-one meetings with potential voters who campaigns often don’t reach.

The campaign has resumed canvassing in recent weeks, but some liberal organizers focused on reaching Latino voters worry the move came too late.

One red alarm for Democrats comes in Florida’s Miami-Dade County, home to a huge Hispanic population where Republicans are besting Democrats in turning out those voters.

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