Latino millennials could play a bigger role than ever before in this fall’s presidential election.
Hispanic millennials could make up nearly half of the record 27 million Hispanic eligible voters, according to a Pew Research Study.
Yet Texas lags in Hispanic voter turnout. In the 2012 presidential election, only 39 percent of eligible Texas Latinos voted. Nationally, it was 48 percent.
Matt Barreto is co-founder of the polling and research firm Latino Decisions.
“There are 2.2 million Latino registered voters in the state of Texas,” he said. “But look at this, 2.6 million eligible not registered U.S. citizens over the age of 18. A typical election here in the Texas might be decided by 700,000 votes – that’s a landslide. That makes it very hard, Texas is not competitive.”
Texas State House Representative Cesar Blanco, who represents El Paso, said one of the factors in low voter turnout is that Latinos don’t have candidates they can relate to.
“Latinos represent 17 percent of the overall total population,” he said. “Unfortunately we only represent one percent of the elected body. That’s a huge problem for us because if you’re not at the policy decision making table, you’re the lunch.”
Blanco spoke at a policy forum in Dallas called “Latinos and the 2016 Election.” Speakers discussed the growing Latino electorate, campaign issues and historical voting patterns.
The forum was held by the Latino Center for Leadership Development in Dallas.