The Growth of the Latino Vote

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - BusinessAs a serious immigration debate kicks off in Congress, a set of data released last Thursday from Progress 2050, a project of the Center for American Progress, projects Latinos and other immigrant voters will play an increasingly powerful role in the upcoming elections of 2014 and 2016.

According to the report entitled “The Growth of the Latino Electorate in Key States,” Latino voters will increase their national voter eligibility count by over four million, or by 17 percent, over the course of the next four years. In California, the percentage of statewide net increase in all eligible voters who are Latino is forecast to increase by 645,400 voters or 82.6 percent by the mid-term election of 2014, and by 1,355,000 or 82.2 percent in the 2016 presidential election.

California is far from being the only center of attention as far as Latino voter influence is concerned. The report highlights that Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Texas will experience a strong continued growth in Latino and immigrant voters. A significant expansion of Latino voters is also expected in Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, and Virginia. The report indicates Latino voters will be more influential in local, state, and national elections.

“These projections bode well for Latinos and our nation’s democratic process. An empowered community is an actively engaged and creative community. No longer the silent minority, Latinos and immigrants are exercising their political muscle and they like what they see in the proverbial mirror,” stated Angelica Salas, Executive Director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).

Motivated by issues such as the economy, healthcare, and immigration reform, Latino voters turned out in significant numbers in 2012 which sent a clear mandate to President Obama and Congress –that a serious, fair, and humane solution to a broken immigration system is expected in 2013. Latinos comprise 10 percent of the overall electorate and according to election-eve polls, concerns over immigration came second only to job creation and a boost in the economy.

“In 2012, CHIRLA mobilized thousands of volunteers to go out to the streets, knock on doors, distribute leaflets, conduct forums, and hold rallies and phone marathons to ensure no one had an excuse to miss Election Day. That election was truly a community-wide civic effort we look forward to repeating,” said Ms. Salas.
A reading of the post-election tea leaves sent a bipartisan group of Senators and House Members to closed-door meetings to begin the long-overdue work on a path to citizenship. To date, no agreement has emerged and the clock is ticking.

“Latino and immigrant voters sent Congress a mandate to create a path to citizenship without delay. By the time the next election comes around, a growing and vested Latino electorate will review the score sheet and vote accordingly,” anticipated Ms. Salas.

The full study can be found at

Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) is a member of GAMALIEL.

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