News Column

Hispanic Voter Registration Could Hit 20-Year Low

July 13, 2012

Staff --

latino vote

A count of voters with Spanish surnames in 10 key states shows the lowest growth rate for Hispanic voters in two decades, the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP) reports. Registration rates among Hispanics could be the lowest since 1992.

Latino voters in the states surveyed account for nearly 75 percent of Hispanic registered voters in the country. The states include the heavily Hispanic states of California, Arizona,Texas and Florida.

SVREP estimates that registration among Hispanic voters is up by about 1.1 million over the past four years.

The rise, from 11.6 million in 2008 to about 12.7 million in 2012, represents a modest growth rate of about 9.8 percent, says Antonio Gonzales, SVREP president.

The number is "well below the Latino registration growth rates of 24.7 percent and 23.4 percent in the 2008 and 2004 presidential cycles," Gonzales says.

Among the study's findings is that Latino voter registration dropped from 11.6 million in 2008 to 11 million in 2010. It was believed that the recession had a great deal to do with that, as job losses and foreclosures forced "millions of Americans to move and lose their registration status," SVREP said in a news release.

Related: Romney Presidency Would Threaten Voting Rights, Biden Says

SVREP points out, however, that Latino voter growth is up by 20.1 percent in purple or swing states, up by 18.8 percent in Democrat-leaning blue states, but up by only 3.6 percent in Republican-leaning red states.

Registration is up by 47.1 percent in blue Connecticut and up by 21.6 percent in purple Florida, but only up by 0.1 percent in red Texas, according to the survey.

Gonzalez explains that Latino voter registration efforts get fewer resources in "noncompetitive red and blue states" unless there's a significant local election battle under way.

"Being a player in swing states is important," says Lydia Camarillo, SVREP vice president. "But it's even more important to build Latino empowerment so that after the elections politicians will be responsive to our issues whether in the White House, Congress or in our states."

She added that "SVREP is active in building the Latino vote in red and blue states as well as purple states."

SVREP derived its numbers from a review of Spanish-surnamed data counts spurred by the U.S. Census' Current Population Survey on Voting and Registration in 2010, which showed a decline in Hispanic voter registration during the previous 10 years.

Source: (c) 2012. All rights reserved.

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