In 2012, Mitt Romney and the Republican Party were walloped by Latino voters, winning only 23% of them compared to Obama’s 75%. In 2013, the GOP had a chance to rehabilitate its image by passing immigration reform, but the House refused to act. Now that it’s 2014, voter groups are announcing plans to mobilize more Latinos than ever, in this election year and beyond, in order to punish Republicans at the ballot box and build majorities that will support priorities like immigration reform.
Today, the National Council of La Raza and Mi Familia Vota Education Fund launched their “Mobilize to Vote 2014” campaign, a joint effort to register at least one-quarter of a million new Hispanic voters by the midterm elections.
More than $3 million has been raised in the campaign so far, which will focus on Latino voters in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah — with possible expansion efforts in Florida and California. According to the groups, there are almost as many eligible but inactive Latino voters (11.1 million) as active Latino voters (12.2 million), and so they will be focusing on areas of the country where the greatest gap between potential and actual voters exist.
Speaking at the press conference were leaders like Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro and Janet Murguía of NCLR and Ben Monterroso of Mi Familia Vota — and also two pollsters, Matt Barreto and Gary Segura, co-founders of Latino Decisions. As Barreto and Segura often point out, some 8.6 million Latinos in the US are eligible to vote, but have not yet registered. And every month, nearly 64,000 young Latino citizens turn 18 and become newly eligible. That’s a huge pool of potential and future voters waiting to be tapped — but Republicans who refuse to engage on immigration reform are writing off any chance they have of attracting large numbers of these voters.
NCLR and Mi Familia Vota are trying to ensure that those who oppose immigration reform will feel maximum pain. As Ben Monterroso said at the press conference today:
Elected officials need to pay attention to our issues on a regular basis and consistently engage Latinos. How they react to key issues such as immigration reform will not be forgotten on Election Day. It is not enough to wait until six weeks before an election to pay lip service to Latino voters. We are too important to ignore.