By Michael Oleaga – – – –
The Latino vote has been called “decisive” in the presidential election, and one organization is projecting record voter turnout by the group this November.
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund analyzed recent data and projected more than 13.1 million Latinos will cast their votes on Election Day this November. The estimation represents an increase from the 11.2 million Latino voters in the 2012 election. The Latino voter turnout will increase 17 percentage points and grow 8.7 percent when compared to 2012’s Latino voter share, according to the group.
“Early primary results have shown that the Latino vote is still very much up for grabs, even within the nation’s major political parties,” said NALEO Education Fund Executive Director Arturo Vargas in a statement. “With more than 13.1 million Latinos expected to head to the polls to make their voices heard, no candidate or political party can afford to take our support for granted if they want to win the race for the White House in 2016.”
Vargas added, “13.1 million is only the floor for Latino turnout this year, with the possibility of even more Latino voters casting ballots if significant investments in Latino outreach are made by nonpartisan funders, candidates, parties and political donors in the lead up to November.”
NALEO has been working to provide Latino voter projections for key primary and caucus states where significant Latino populations reside. As Latin Post reported, NALEO expects 194,000 Latinos to cast their votes in 2016, which is an increase of 4.4 percent over 2012’s Latino vote share. In 2012, nearly 157,000 Latinos voted, which, at the time, was a significant increase from 38,000 voters during Election Day 2008.
In Colorado, with a Latino population of over 1.1 million, more than 277,500 Latinos are expected to cast their votes this year, an increase of 5.6 percent from 2012. Meanwhile, in Texas, with a Latino population of over 10.4 million, over 2 million Latinos are expected to vote, an increase from 2012’s 1.89 million.
Historic Year for Latinos Seeking Political Office
Regardless of political affiliation, Latinos are having a prominent role in the 2016 election.
In the Republican Party presidential race, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas became the first Latino to win a primary or caucus for a major political party. Cruz won the Iowa caucus on Feb. 1, while Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida placed third. Rubio and Cruz also placed second and third, respectively, in the South Carolina Republican primary on Feb. 20.
Nevada has the opportunity to elect a number of Latinos to Congress, including former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who is campaigning to succeed retiring Sen. Harry Reid. If Cortez Masto wins, she will become the first Latina to serve in the Senate. In Texas, Dolly Elizondo is running for the state’s 15th Congressional District. If elected, she will be the first Latina from the Lone Star state to serve in Congress.