About 25 percent fewer Latino voters will turn out to vote in the 2014 midterm elections than did in the 2012 presidential race, according to new projections released by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)
The projections reflect the nation’s general disinterest in midterm elections, which is typically more dramatic among young, minority, and single-women voters. But the total Latino vote is still projected to be higher than it was in the last midterm election in 2010, not because a greater share of Latino voters will be voting, but rather because the total Latino population has grown in the last four years.
About 7.8 million Latino voters are projected to cast ballots in 2014, according to NALEO, representing about 8% of the nation’s total electorate. That would be 18.8% higher than the turnout during the 2010 midterm election, when about 6.64 million Latinos voted. But the numbers are a far cry from the 11.2 million Latino American adults who cast ballots in 2012. In both 2010 and 2014, the association predicts that about 30% of eligible voters will show up at the polls, down from 48% of eligible Latino voters who turned out in the 2012 presidential contest.
Arturo Vargas, the executive director of NALEO says he hopes the stalling on immigration reform incites the Latino community into action. “It’s my hope that there would be a sense of anger among Latinos that leads them to take action and to vote,” said Vargas during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington on Tuesday.
NALEO estimates about 50,000 Latinos turn 18 every month and by November there will be 28.8 million eligible Latino voters in the U.S. on Election Day in 2014. Yet many, Vargas said, don’t feel engaged with the democratic process, and lack faith in the system. Many others simply don’t know where or how to register to vote. “There’s a crisis in American democracy when you have 25 million U.S. citizens not voting,” Vargas said at an event Tuesday in Washington, D.C.
But Vargas said the problem is only made worse by protections for existing voters being in jeopardy, with the bill to amend the Voting Rights Act stalled in Congress. On Tuesday, NALEO issued a report on the importance of the Voting Rights Act Amendment to Latino voters.
Vargas and NALEO are calling on Congress to restore the voting protections offered under the Voting Rights Act, given that about 7 million Latinos that are eligible to vote live in places that were previously covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. “We lost the most powerful voter protection tool,” Vargas said Tuesday.
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