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Latino voter registration lags other groups

Borderzine: Reporting Across Fronteras
 

On the last week of voter registration, Claudia Perea, a 45 year-old housewife from Las Cruces goes door-to-door in neighborhoods with the largest numbers of eligible Latinos who are not registered to vote.

Armed with a pen, voter registration forms and a clipboard, Perea took to the streets of Las Cruces and El Paso to register Latinos to vote in the 2016 presidential election.

Perea is part of a voter registration drive conducted by Hillary for Las Cruces’ organizing office.

“I help to recruit people to register to vote and target the Latino community heavily. I go door-to-door or to churches, parks and neighborhoods to try to register as many Latinos to vote as possible by Oct. 11. My hope is that by doing it, they will head to the polls to vote for the next U.S. president,” said Perea.

Claudia Perea helps people to register to vote. Photo by Laiza Zaldívar for Kokopelli.
Claudia Perea helps people to register to vote. Photo by Laiza Zaldívar for Kokopelli.

According to a study from the Pew Research Center, a record of 27.3 million Latinos will be eligible to vote in the 2016 election.

However, Latino voter registration has increased only slightly compared to the growth of the Hispanic population in the country.

According to “Latino Voter Registration Dilemma,” a report published this year by the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies (CLACLS), voter registration rates among Latinos remained steady at 58 percent of potential voters between the 1992 and 2012 presidential elections, regardless of well-publicized voter registration drives.

The CLALS report shows Latino registration rates in 2012 were at 58.7 percent, lower than the voter registration rate of about 73 percent that both non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks had that same year.

Perea is convinced that Latinos can make a big difference in the presidential election this year.

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