Back in January of this year, National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and Mi Familia Vota came together for a $5 million dollar register-by-mail campaign in hopes of persuading Latinos to empower themselves with the power of the vote. However, with the November elections drawing closer it appears that the two Latino groups’ effort may not be as successful as planned.
Both groups hoped to have 250,000 Latinos register within seven states, but as of Monday the campaign has registered 80,000 Latinos with another 10,000 expected to register. Despite this great difference in numbers, advocates from both groups are still hopeful that the elections will be heavily impacted by the Latino electorate within the country.
For NCLR Deputy Vice President Clarissa Martinez De Castro the 250,000 goal was merely a goal that was “extremely ambitious” and that Latino voters who have registered so far has exceeded the estimated number of Latinos who registered in 2012. The sway of the Latino vote was first felt back in the 2012 elections between President Barack Obama and Senator Mitt Romney where the elections saw to the highest Latino voter turnout.
According to projections made by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), the voter turnout among Latinos come November is expected to be at 17.9% which translates into 7.8 million Latinos becoming politically active. The projections shows a 6.6 million increase from the 2010 elections.
Meanwhile, the Pew Hispanic Center reports that since the 2010 midterms there are more Latinos eligible to vote which estimates around 4 million. However, while there may be more Latinos eligible to vote some may not do so.
During the 2012 elections, which was an impressive elections due to the Latino turnout the numbers were significantly still low considering most eligible Latinos who could vote opted not to vote. In 2012, the intense political climate regarding opposition to immigration reform and a heavy anti-immigrant feeling held by most politicians kept Latinos from voting.
What happened in 2012 may happen again in this upcoming election. The lack of Latinos showing up at the polls, even registering, is something that may arise again this upcoming elections considering Latinos are not so pleased with the president’s lackluster decision regarding immigration reform, voter ID laws, and a lack of non-partisan supporters who want to aide immigrants.
“I think we are entering an election where there haven’t been as many unknowns, especially as we contrast that to 2012,” said Matt Barreto, co-founder of the polling and research firm Latino Decisions, when talking about how the Latino community may respond this upcoming elections with an intense anti-immigrant sentiment being felt from the GOP and a failure to response from the Democrat party. With both parties not truly being pleasing for Latinos, so far, it’s in the air regarding whether Latinos will truly go blue as they’ve always done or opt for red or none.
While there is a lack of significant hard data to determine the number of Latinos to come out for the elections, there are some expectations on where the Latino vote will be felt the most. Within congressional districts, the Latino vote is expected to decide the race 2% to 4%. From this Latino voters are expected to have a strong impact within 10 Democratic congressional districts and 14 GOP.
While Latinos may be the largest growing population within this country, and they can be a swaying factor for any political candidate there is a problem relying on the Latino vote. After an intense summer where immigration deportations and recent stories being released regarding young immigrant children dying when deported home it will be interesting to see how both Latino voters and politicians behave during the upcoming elections.