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Early Engagement, Higher Contact & Diverse Messaging Needed for 2020, New Analysis of Latino Voters Shows

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Key Insights Nationally and in Arizona, Florida, Nevada, and Texas

View the report online here

View the slide deck online here

Listen to a recording of today’s call here

Today, experts reviewed a new Latino electorate analysis, conducted by Catalist and Latino Decisions on behalf of America’s Voice and the Immigration Hub, showing a need for early engagement, higher contact, and increased funding to capitalize on the largest racial/ethnic minority group in the 2020 electorate – the 32 million Latino voters.

The Latino Vote Project set out to evaluate the turnout of Latino voters in the last three elections – 2014, 2016, 2018 – as a function of the investments made, programs implemented, and opportunities leveraged by grassroots organizations and donors in four key states: Arizona, Florida, Nevada, and Texas.

The Latino vote has been essential and will be critical in the 2020 election, and yet there lacks a deeper analysis and holistic understanding of what effectively drives Latino voter engagement and turnout. Below, opportunities and recommendations from the analysis and quotes from today’s speakers are available

Opportunities and Recommendations

Based on the data analysis and qualitative interviews, the Latino Vote Project identified missed opportunities to leverage for future elections and recommendations to build durable power and increase Latino voter engagement and participation ahead, and beyond, the 2020 elections.

  • To build durable power, infrastructure, and increase Latino voter engagement and participation ahead, and beyond, the 2020 elections, organizations need earlier and greater funding to increase capacity and effectiveness:
    • Plan and execute programs earlier.
    • Start voter outreach earlier.
    • Increase voter touches.
    • Hire on schedule to match program ramp-up needs with time to allow for volunteer recruitment and training.  
    • Hire the right team and canvassers from the same communities they are targeting to allow for authentic conversations and voter engagement.
  • With additional funding, essential and proven tactics could have been deployed at a greater rate to increase Latino engagement and turnout.
  • New and existing digital tools present many opportunities to reach Latino voters where they are, and this area remains ripe for further investment, testing, and greater use and deployment by grassroots organizations.
  • Latino origin groups’ unique experiences and nuances – whether Puerto Rican, Mexican, Cuban, Salvadoran, etc. – need to be better understood to deliver compelling messages and effectively micro-target Latinos.


Emmy Ruiz, Partner, NEWCO Strategies, said, “For years, there has been a hypothesis that states: if Latino-focused organizations had the resources needed to build and deeply an organization, the impact will be felt at the ballot box. This report reinforces that assumption and shows that in 2018, we saw just that. We need to keep that going in 2020.”

Matt Barreto, Co-Founder, Latino Decisions, said, “We have now looked at dozens of different data from 2018 from the voter file, to official precinct results, to census data, and survey data, and there is conclusive evidence of massive growth in the Latino vote in 2018. Latino voters registered record levels of anger and frustration, and we saw that converted to record levels of voter participation in 2018.”

Michael Frias, Chief Executive Officer, Catalist, said, “As we examine the data and answer the critical question of what happened on Election Day (2018) it is clear that the historic turnout of 2018, the historic support for Democratic candidates up and down the ballot, and critical victories were fueled by the Latinx community turning out in record numbers from 2014, and supporting democratic candidates at record rates from 2014.”

Alex Gomez, Co-Executive Director, Living United for Change in Arizona, said, “In Arizona, the increase of Latino voter turnout in 2018 has been 8 year in the making through organizing as a result of the heinous law SB1070. We decided that, in order to shift policy, we needed to invest in those Latino voters who did not voted because they weren’t given that opportunity to participate. The racial profiling and anti-immigrant sentiment that motivated our community to vote then is the same that had major turn out in 2018. Today, the same hateful sentiment that motivated Latinos in Arizona to get out and vote, reflects across the country with the current administration and that’s why it is so important that the efforts to invest in our Latino community cannot be a sprint. It needs to start early because building electoral power is a marathon, and we need to be there every step of the way through 2020 and beyond.”

Pili Tobar, Deputy Director, America’s Voice, said, “Latinos are an electoral force, and were essential to making 2018 statewide elections competitive in Arizona, Florida, Nevada, and Texas. Absent the Latino vote in these states, Republicans would have won by landslide margins. But even as Trump doubles-down on alienating Latinos on immigration, health care, education, Puerto Rico and other issues headed into 2020, Democrats cannot take Latino voters for granted. While some early and sustained investments in outreach and mobilization of Latino voters paid off for Democrats in 2018, late and insufficient investments made it so that the impact of the Latino vote did not reach its full potential in 2018, which is a caution for 2020. Ahead of the 2020 elections, we must increase the resources and early investment in grassroots organizations in order to put in place lasting political infrastructure that can help increase the participation of latinos, which contributes to progressive wins.”

Sergio Gonzales, Deputy Director, Immigration Hub, stated, “The Latino voting population has long been considered a sleeping giant in American politics. This report leaves no doubt that the giant has awoken. Latinos were key to wins in 2018, and success in 2020 hinges on proactively engaging this critical voting bloc. The mandate is clear: we must take affirmative and forward leaning positions on issues, such as passing immigration reform, improving affordable health care and childcare access, and creating opportunities to higher education.”