CNN en Español has partnered with City University of New York to provide an exclusive focus on Latino voters in America
The first report, The Latino Voter Registration Dilemma, focuses on the historic low voter turnout level among Latinos in presidential elections
Latinos have been voting at historically low levels in presidential elections, even though they will make up a politically potent 9.9% of the electorate in the 2016 White House contest, according to a new survey from a partnership between CNN en Español and City University of New York.
The Latino Voter Registration Dilemma is the first report in a series that will provide an exclusive focus on Latino voters in America. The report shows that only 48% of eligible Latinos voted in the 2012 elections, compared with 64% of non-Hispanic whites and 66% of non-Hispanic blacks who voted in the 2012 elections.
The report also finds that voter registration rates among Latinos has remained steady at 58% of potential voters between the 1992 and 2012 presidential elections, despite well publicized voter registration drives.
The report also shows, though, that once Latinos register to vote, more than 80% of Latinos turnout at fairly high rates in presidential elections. But their overall impact in national elections is compromised by low registration rates – for example, Latinos between 18-24 years old and 25-44 years old had lower registration rates compared with older Hispanics. But those two age groups make up 62% of all potential Latino voters.
That said, some states doubled their percentage of Latino voters in 2012 compared to 1996, the report said. California’s Latino vote accounted for 23.5% of all votes in 2012, which was a dramatic increase from 11.7% in 1996. In Florida, Latinos cast 9.2% of all votes in 1996, but then increased to 17.3% of votes in 2012. Nevada’s Latinos made up 3.9% of all voters in 1996 and soared to 15% in 2012.
Eduardo Gamarra, a professor at Florida International University, told CNN en Español that Hispanics in the United States should feel empowered to be involved in the political system.
“People, Hispanics specifically, have always talked about the great potential the Hispanic vote can have in an election,” he said in Spanish. “This should call for an important reflection because we always put a lot of hop in the Latino vote, but if the pattern for the statistics continues, by November 2016, we’ll have the same pattern of data.”