Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 | 9 a.m.
The number of Hispanics who will head to voter booths in November is projected to increase by 26 percent over 2008, a national Latino interest group announced Wednesday.
The bipartisan National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund based its projections on average increases in turnout in previous elections as reported by the Census Bureau.
Hispanic voter turnout in 2008 was 9.7 million, and is expected to reach 12.2 million this year. The interest group said the increased projection is due in part to the estimated 50,000 Latinos who turn 18 each month.
“Latinos continue to reshape the nation’s political map, and the Latino electorate will play a decisive role in Election 2012,” NALEO executive director Arturo Vargas said in a statement.
If the group’s projection holds true, Latinos will account for at least 8.7 percent of the country’s voters in November.
Vargas concluded: “Both presidential candidates and political parties must actively work to engage Latino voters and address the issues they care about. This electorate has shown that it cannot be taken for granted by either party … Latinos played a key role in the 2008 election; they will determine who is sworn in on January 20, 2013.”
Both the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee have already begun to reach out to Hispanic voters ahead of the general election through social media, advertisements and targeted press releases and events. Nevada’s Hispanic voters were credited with helping re-elect Harry Reid to the U.S. Senate in 2010 and tipping the state in favor of Barack Obama in 2008.
There are 224,000 eligible Hispanic voters in Nevada, comprising 13.5 percent of the electorate — the sixth highest percentage in the country, according to the Pew Research Center.