Thinking of family — and fearing a wall — Latino voters take to the polls in L.A.


A sign in Spanish and English points voters to the polls. (Los Angeles Times)

Outside a recreation center in Lincoln Heights, Ana Castillo, 65, scanned her sample ballot one last time before voting.

She remained a tad uncertain about how she’d vote on state propositions, but Castillo had made up her mind about the presidency.

“They’re both not great, but Trump is worse than Clinton,” she said in Spanish. "[Clinton has] made her mistakes, but … Trump is racist. Everything he says is not OK.”

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Castillo left El Salvador and arrived in the United States in 1991. She became a citizen in 2009. For years, she worked as a hotel housekeeper, but now she is a caretaker.

She said she didn’t like Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s talk about building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, which she worries would keep out people like her who came to the U.S. looking for opportunity.

“Not only bad people come here,” she said. “Good people come here to work. A lot come to study.”

Recent polls have led to predictions of a record Latino turnout.

At the Evergreen Recreation Center in Boyle Heights, Jeanette Miranda, 19, said she voted for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, but that wasn’t the only decision on her mind.

Miranda wants to be a teacher someday, so she said more money for schools is important to her.

“I want to make a change in my community as well, not just voting for the presidency,” she said.

Miranda said she also was thinking about family. She said her parents came to the U.S. to provide her with a “better life.” And that’s part of the reason she was excited to vote Tuesday — for the first time.

“My parents,” she said, “I just don’t want to let them down.”

Katherine Gonzalez, 23, also voting at Evergreen, said some of her family members are undocumented and don’t have the right to vote.

She said her father’s side of the family is from Mexico, and a lot of her aunts and uncles don’t have immigration papers.

“So this vote is kind of for them,” she said. “I’m going to use my right.”

In Lincoln Heights, Blanca Magaña, 50, who works at a doctor’s office, said she was personally motivated to come out and vote for Clinton. She said she expected many others to feel likewise.

Trump’s plan to build a wall may have “made him famous,” Magaña said, but it was “something he never should have said.”


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