The Latino Vote can make a difference. With a growing population of over 50 million according to 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, representing 1 in 7 voters in swing states, and made up 40% of new voters in the 2008 presidential election Latinos are a key factor in battle states such as Florida, New Mexico, Nevada, Virginia, and Colorado, and can make a difference in this election and in future.
Even though this is incredible data, the Latino community still has challenges and obstacles to overcome in order to gain and maintain its voting power and influence. In 2010 approximately 52% of the 21.8 million eligible Hispanic voters registered to vote, while only 31% actually voted. This challenge has sprung a number of get out the vote or GOTV campaigns during the past several elections. Organizations such as VoteLatino.org and HispanicVote.com have made great inroads in getting Latinos to vote. Currently actress Rosario Dawson, chairwoman of VoteLatino.org and has been successful in building bridges to educate the Latino community on the voting process and helping them to register to vote.
On the other side of the coin, the challenge of elected officials and those who seeking office to understand how to effectively court, win, and maintain the support of the diverse Latino community without pandering or taking the community for granted.
Latinos share a wide range of opinions and values due to the different backgrounds and demographic make up. According to Resurgent Republic’s web site hispanicvoters2012.com 51% of registered Hispanics voters are Democrats, 31% are Independents, and 18% Republicans, but ideologically 54% of Hispanics are conservative, while only 39% are liberal. 57% of Independent Hispanics believe that the federal government higher priority should be to reduce the budget deficit, while 68% of the same Independents feel that “Immigration reform should focus on finding a humane approach to dealing with the 12 million immigrants living in the United States so that they can be brought out of the shadows and live without fear of mistreatment”.
The fact that in the United States 50,000 Latinos will turn 18 every month for the next two decades will challenge both individuals seeking office and political parties trying to maintain control of Congress and the White House. This new changing electorate gives the Latino community the opportunity and the Latino Vote to make further contributions to the changing fabric of this country.