LATINO VOTE: Increased Population, Fewer At Polls

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LATINO VOTE: Increased Population, Fewer At Polls

Oct. 7, 2012

By Stephanie Moore

Hispanics are the country’s fastest growing population, now making up more than one of every six Americans.

That gives them more clout in deciding our nation’s leader.

With Election Day getting closer, both campaigns are rallying voters to get to the polls come November 6th.

LULAC, The League of United Latin American Citizens, has the same goal.

“We have a history of tradition of voting here in Iowa.  So we have always felt committed to doing that, and with the new citizens who have come on board from the Latino community we’re going to be reaching out to them and welcoming them on Election Day,” says State Director for LULAC Joe Enriquez Henry.

The organization has been reaching out to the Latino community all year.

This week members will mail out close to 30,000 postcards to Latinos encouraging them to vote, a right Mary Campos says is important.

“Sometimes elections are lost because of that one vote, and so if you want to feel that you’ve really did your job, then you should be the one that does the vote, because when the votes are counted you might win by that one vote,” says Mary Campos of Des Moines.

The Pew Research Center released a report this week showing there are 23.7 million Latinos eligible to vote in the upcoming election, that’s a 22% increase since 2008.

However, even though their population has increased and both campaigns court their votes, there are actually fewer Latinos registered to vote.  That number dropped 600,000 between 2008 and 2010.

Those are numbers LULAC wants to change, they say currently about 50 percent of the adult Latino population in Iowa is registered to vote.

They’re hoping by continuing to educate the public-those numbers continue to rise.

“We’re all able to be educated, and be leaders in this country, we have the numbers, and I think that’s what our young men and women need to think about their tomorrow, their future,” says Campos.

The Pew Study found several factors affecting why Latino voter registration hasn’t kept up with population increases, including a younger population, and the economic downturn’s dampened their enthusiasm for voting.

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