by Abelardo de la Pena Jr.
- In the 2008 elections, 79.9% of registered U.S. Latinos voted (WCVI.edu, October 2010). Will Latino voters duplicate that high rate in the 2010 midterms? One poll sees a noticeable lack of enthusiasm among potential Latino voters. Grassroots efforts, however, are making strides in voter registration and participation.
- According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 32% of all Latino registered voters say they have given this year’s election “quite a lot” of thought, in contrast to 50% of all registered voters (WashingtonPost.com, 5 October 2010). One roadblock: the inability of the Obama administration to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
- That’s not stopping groups like National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) from pushing for increased voter participation. Their tactic: Target the young Latino who is eligible to vote for the first time, with bilingual voter information and outreach. According to NALEO, a Latino is turning 18 years of age every 30 seconds in the U.S. (KPBS.org, 15 October 2010).
- Promise Arizona, a grassroots membership organization, set a goal to register 10,000 new Latino voters via its “Faith, Hope, Vote” campaign. They surpassed that goal by registering 13,036 new voters (AZCentral.com, 18 October 2010).
WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS
- Much like the U.S. Latino consumer, the U.S. Latino voter can’t be taken for granted. Candidates and political parties have to work for their vote by going out to their communities, speaking their language and understanding their issues.
- Younger U.S. Latinos are finding it easier to balance their home-country ties with their rights as U.S. Citizens. Engaging them as voters by appealing to their sense of belonging is an effective tactic.