With just under a million Latino U.S. citizens turning 18 each year, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) is projecting that by 2016, 16.7 million Latinos will be registered to vote. On National Voter Registration Day, NCLR issued a call to eligible Latinos in the U.S. to “Defeat bigotry on the campaign trail—register and vote!”
The Latino advocacy group says it will be launching a full voter registration effort later this fall.
“Our voices are critical, particularly as we see the presidential campaign season unfold, with some candidates intent on demonizing the Latino community and awakening a virulent nativist streak in our society. The best way to defend our community from bigotry, and to be true to our nation’s motto, E Pluribus Unum, is to register and vote,” Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro, NCLR’s deputy vice president, said in a statement.
According to NCLR the number of Latinos registered to vote is on the rise. In 2008, the group said 11.6 million were registered, in 2012 there were 13.7 million, by next year — an election year — the number of Latinos registered to vote will reach 16.7 million.
To be sure, the number of registered voters has historically been lower than the number of Latinos eligible to vote.
Indeed, according to projections, 28.5 million Latinos are expected to be eligible to vote by next year and make up 13 percent of all eligible voters. NCLR notes that not only is the growth in registration due to Latino U.S. citizens turning 18 but also voter registration efforts on the part of organizations like it.
“Bringing even more eligible Latinos onto the voter rolls and into the voting booth will strengthen the message that our community needs to be engaged meaningfully by candidates, and that candidates need to provide solutions rather than incite hatred if they want to win elections,” Martínez-De-Castro added.
Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump has come under fire for his positions on Mexicans and illegal immigration. Other Republicans in the field have been attacked for their immigration stances as well. Advocates have called on Latinos to show their anger at Republican immigration rhetoric at the polls.