Latino Voter Registration 'In High Gear' for Nov. 6 Election
Khalil Abdullah - New America Media
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October 8, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A consortium of Latino organizations already has registered a quarter-million new Hispanic voters for this election cycle. Their spokespersons estimate that when those numbers are combined with outreach efforts by other organizations, the multiplier effect may bring as many 650,000 new Latino voters onto the rolls by the time registration deadlines close in most states over the next few weeks.

“I understand the difference Latinos voters can make in their communities,” said Nathieli Diaz, a student at University of California-Riverside. She has been helping register voters--“especially because I cannot vote.”

DREAMers Helping Although They Can’t Vote

Diaz is a DREAMer, who came to the United States in her youth, but who is ineligible to vote because she is not a U.S. citizen. She said she is one of the many DREAMers volunteering with registration drives.

“There are so many students like myself whose future lies in the hands of eligible voters,” Diaz said, explaining her motivation to ensure the Latino turnout is high in November.

Diaz stressed that DREAMers “are contributing to this great country” even now. But she added that “all those like myself, who hope to be able to vote someday” are dependent on those who currently can vote.

Predicting the final number of those registered at this early date is difficult because there is no national voter registration database. Also the consortium’s numbers don’t include those Latinos registered by political parties or other initiatives.

Speakers on a teleconference earlier this week did not address the partisan implications of their efforts, but said their collective initiative is laying solid groundwork for their long cherished ambition of finally maximizing the potential of the Latino vote.

Out of an estimated 53 million Latinos in the United States, approximately 23.5 million are eligible voters and about 14 million are registered voters, according Evan Bacalao, senior director of civic engagement for the Educational Fund of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Bacalo is expecting a turnout of 12 million Latino voters this election.

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