But who exactly comprises the Latino electorate? The Pew Hispanic Center has mapped the Latino electorate (the image above), and we know that 5.5 million Latinos voted in the 2006 midterm. But there are lingering questions about what Latino turnout will look like this year and if voter identification requirements will deter eligible voters (not just eligible Latino voters).
Many Latino groups are working hard to get out the vote in their communities. The Ya es Hora, ¡Ve y Vota! coalition and the Univision network declared October 26 "Ya es Hora Day" in an effort to encourage Latino voters to go to the polls this November. Univision aired special coverage and public service announcements about the electoral process and the importance of the upcoming elections. Ya es Hora get-out-the-vote efforts also include calling "low-propensity (infrequent)" Latino voters across the country in addition to offering webinars. (Join NALEO and the Lawyer’s Committee tomorrow at 1pm EST for a free webinar on “Voter Protection Basics”.)
The work of these and other organizers seems to be paying off -- A poll released by Latino Decisions on October 26 "shows that the number of Latino registered voters who say they are 'almost certain' to show up at the polls is now 75.1% -- a full 10% higher than it was four weeks ago." Hot issues may be one factor driving Latino voters to the polls: the NALEO study found that interest in the immigration issue was a significant factor in increasing the likelihood of voting.
Both parties are taking note that the political power of the Latino electorate is on the rise, and will continue to grow, in part, because Latinos constitute the largest minority group in the U.S. and their numbers are expected to grow from 40 million to over 100 million by the year 2050.