Three years ago, in the wake of a new Arizona law aimed at those in the country illegally, tens of thousands converged on the Capitol with a message: Today we march, tomorrow we vote.

But new figures Wednesday from the U.S. Census Bureau suggest those efforts have had mixed results at best.

The percentage of Hispanics registered to vote for last year's election is virtually identical to what it was for the 2008 presidential race. And while the share of Hispanics who actually reported they voted was up from four years earlier, to 40.4 percent, it still trails by far the 70.5 percent voting rate of non-Hispanic Anglos.

Petra Falcon, executive director of Promise Arizona, said she has not seen the data. And Falcon, whose organization is involved in voter registration efforts in the Hispanic community, said there may be reason to question the Census Bureau's classification of who is Latino.

But she conceded that getting people who have been registered to actually go to the polls has been an ongoing struggle. The key, Falcon said, is convincing them there is a reason to vote.

Pollster Earl de Berge of Behavior Research Center said the problem there may be the message of those doing voter outreach.

"You can't expect voters to go to the polls if there's not something in it for them,'' he said. "Voters vote their perceived self-interest.''

He said much of the emphasis for voter registration drives in the Hispanic community has been built on two related issues.

One is illegal immigration and the state laws passed in response, culminating in 2010 with adoption of SB 1070. That measure was designed to give state and local police more power to detain and arrest those suspected of being in this country illegally.

The other, said de Berge, has been more focused on Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the "crime suppression sweeps'' which seem aimed at Hispanics.

He said there are certain young Latinos who are focused on those issues. But de Berge said many who were born here are more interested in things like women's issues, abortion and economics, than the immigration issues being used to get people registered.

"They leave a lot of Latinos out of the game who don't see themselves as immigrant-oriented,'' de Berge said. "It's not the only thing that drives them.''

He said those who want to mobilize the Latino vote "need to cast a broader net on issues in order to bring in people who are not simply oriented either toward an anger toward Arpaio or toward a belief that we need immigration reform.''

Falcon acknowledged that anger toward Arpaio played a role in her organization's efforts. She said her group and others registered 35,000 people last year to vote in the sheriff's reelection campaign.

But she agreed that resentment, by itself, does not get people to the polls, especially if other candidates are not reaching out to the Latino community.

Francisco Heredia, national field director for Mi Familia Vota, said while immigration is important, it cannot be the sole basis to get people to register or vote.

"Not everybody gravitates to a specific campaign or a specific issue,'' said Heredia, who previously headed the Arizona field office.

But State Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, said the significance of immigration should not be underestimated.

"Everyone out here in my district knows someone -- they're either in the family or a neighbor or someone who they go to church with -- that is struggling with this broken immigration system,'' Gallardo said.

"That's what gets people fired up,'' he said. "That is the tool that's been used to get people active in our political process.''

There may be one other factor in play in the lower Hispanic voter turnout: age.

The Hispanic community is heavily weighted with those who are young. And the Census Bureau reports that, in general, the younger someone is in Arizona, the less likely that person is to cast a ballot.

That gap between Hispanic and Anglo voting is not unique to Arizona. Nationally, the Latino turnout rate for last year's election was 48 percent, compared to more than 64 percent for non-Hispanic Anglos.

But both Falcon and Heredia said that tells only part of the story. They pointed out the gap in much narrower in states which were considered "in play'' for the presidential race.

The difference, Heredia said, is money, with "Democrats and Republicans sometimes putting millions of dollars in resources into Latino outreach programs.''

That paid off.

In Nevada, for example, the gap between Hispanic and Anglo turnout was less than 7 percentage points. And it was just 5 points in the battleground state of Ohio.

"In the case for Arizona, we've been left in the dark of that national resource game on the political side, of both parties,'' Heredia said.

"They just crossed off Arizona at the end to move money somewhere else,'' Falcon agreed.

Nationally, the result of those party-funded efforts did bear some fruit. Polls showed that President Obama picked up 71 percent of the Hispanic vote.

And Pew Hispanic said the Census Bureau report shows number of Latinos who voted in last year's presidential race increased by 1.4 million from 2008 to 2012. But the number of Latinos who were eligible to vote but did not actually increased over those four years, from 9.8 million in 2008 to 12.1 million last year.

(1) comment

Brittanicus
Brittanicus

THE CLOCK IS RUNNING OUT--TO STOP ANOTHER ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION TRAVESTY?

It sickens me to see this Senate Judiciary Committee drunk with power, as they vote on the Immigration amendments? Only goes to show that this slimy bunch, other than Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Arkansas who is fighting for the American jobless worker and the influx of more dire poverty. Democrat Chairman Patrick Leahy, (D-VT) Senator Grassley and Sen. Chuck Schumer are an obnoxious part of the group who PANDERING TO ILLEGAL ALIENS AND BUSINESS SPECIAL INTERESTS. The majority of these people who are chuckling about the only strong minded principles of Jeff Sessions, having ignored revising the 2006 Secure Fence Act, to stop further incursions of another huge wave of abject poverty coming into this country. As I see it this bunch nub brain politicians have been purchased by the Special interest lobbyists who want no stoppage of the cheap labor. Almost every enforcement law could be cancelled out, if Congress would issue a biometric ID card to all Americans. It could prove who you are, to vote and ease credit fraud. A simple fix, but the ex-lawyer types who run our lives from Washington, are the puppets of big business. I see them sitting in halls of Power favoring amendments for corporate donors, our Southern neighbor and anybody who can fill their campaign troughs with cash. The place is the most corrupt location in America, other than Liberal state assemblies, who are run by unions.


JUST TO POINT OUT A FACT, THE TAXPAYERS ALWAYS ENDS UP PAYING FOR THE INTENTIONAL MISTAKES OF POLITICIANS AS IN 1986. WE PAY FOR FREE HEALTH CARE: WE PAY FOR ILLEGAL ALIEN BABIES NATAL CARE: WE PAY FOR EDUCATION; WE PAY FOR LOW INCOME HOUSING VOUCHERS; WE PAY FOR THE CHILDRENS LUNCH AND BREAKFAST; WE PAY OTHER BENEFITS, INCLUDING CASH PAYMENTS FOR ALL THE BABIES THEY CONCEIVE-ONE AFTER ANOTHER, ONCE THE JUMP THE BORDER OR OVERSTAY THEIR VISA; THE TAXPAYERS EVEN PAY FOR THE FRAUDULENT IRS CHILD CREDITS; WE PAY FOR ALL THE SPONSORED FAMILY MEMBERS ONCE THEY ARRIVE HERE; WE PAY FOR THE GRANTS FOR SANCTUARY CITIES;


AMERICA IS FAILING BECAUSE BUSINESSES ARE NOT HELD ACCOUNTABLE AND PUNISHED WITH PRISON. SEE OUR QUICKLY ILLEGAL ALIEN HIRING WOULD STOP IMMEDIATELY IF A CEO RECEIVED MANDATORY PRISON. BUT IT WILL NOT BECAUSE THIS COUNTRY HAS BEEN SOLD TO THE HIGHEST BIDDERS. Just look at the present administration-Fast and furious gun running to Mexico, Refusal to send military ops to Benghazi, Libya, the IRS exceeding their authority and descending on any potential non-profits labeled Conservative, Tea Party or patriot, who spell a danger to Obama’s realm. Now just in the last few days the Justice Department without subpoena power taking a newspaper personal staff f, names, addresses, phone and email information.


We are down to the bare wire and we must Stop Amnesty Now. Congress is in a flat-out race with each other to eliminate border security. Behind closed doors right now the lawmakers are creating a plan to give millions of illegal alien’s free citizenship. We need you to help us conduct a full frontal assault on every member of Congress with a NO AMNESTY! PLEASE USE THIS FREE FAX BLAST and/or a PETITION at numbersUSA to do your part? Members of Congress should be contacted at toll-free -- 1-888-978-3065 -- and tell them about the massive outlay and urge them to oppose amnesty. You can also send free faxes at numbersusa. Others entities that print factual data is judicialwatch, americanpatrol and you can congest the key switchboard in Washington, with messages from THE PEOPLE to pressure lawmakers.

DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHATS GOING ON BEHIND YOUR BACK AT THE BORDER FENCE AND HOW IT’S AFFECTING YOU, AND THEN WATCH IT ON YOUR COMPUTER?” THEY COME TO AMERICA”, The Cost of Amnesty is the most exciting, truth revealing dangerous strip of land along the border. This is an in your face documentary ever to be made about illegal immigration. AMERICANS HAVE THE POWER TO KEEP THESE CREEPS OUT IN THE PRIMARIES SHORTLY.

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