By Eric Rodriguez, Vice President, Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation, NCLR
The Latino share of the U.S. electorate grew by over 20% this year. And with more than 850,000 Latino children turning 18 each year, it is likely to ascend to even greater heights one decade from now. Still, Latinos make up less than 10% of the national electorate. This has led some to dismiss the Latino vote as more hype than reality.
But it is not just mere numbers that make the Latino vote meaningful. Latinos are joining other voting blocs such as minorities, women, and youth to form a powerful coalition that promises to shape the national political climate for decades to come. Latino voters will exercise their political muscles in key battleground states and impact elections not by standing as a lone force but by aligning with other voters who share their views. Hispanic electoral growth should be welcome news to anyone who cares about creating jobs that allow a breadwinner to support a family with dignity, quality education and strong schools, healthy and safe communities, and fair immigration policies. Those are the issues that Latinos and most Americans care about. By working together, we can bring about the transformative change that our community and our country need.
This year, NCLR’s nonpartisan voter registration effort signed up over 95,000 new Latino voters. The work was done in partnership with many other organizations in the civil rights, labor, environmental, women’s, LGBT, and overall progressive communities. Many of these organizations also worked hard to turn out Latino voters.
Our partners have recognized that expanding the Hispanic electorate is crucial to achieving our shared goal of advancing social and economic justice. Think this is spin? In Tuesday’s exit polls Latinos showed deep alignment with minority, women, and youth voters in their support for presidential and Senate candidates, as well as in their perspectives on jobs, immigration, deficit reduction, and health care. United with other cohorts of voters, Hispanics are changing the national electorate—for the better.