More than 1.2 million Texas Latinos are expected to vote in November, a 20.4 percent increase from 2010, according to a new report from the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund.
Nationally, the organization is projecting 7.8 million Latino voters, up 17.8 percent from 2010. It predicts that 20.4 percent of Texas voters and 7.8 percent of voters across the country will be Latino.
"In November 2014, once again, the Latino voter will matter — and the Latino community will further establish its vital presence in American politics," says the report by the organization, a nonprofit that seeks Latino participation in the U.S. political process.
Thirty-eight percent of Texans are Latino, and Latinos are 27 percent of adult U.S. citizens in the state. The Latino share of registered voters is 22.6 percent, the report says. In Texas and across the country, Latinos lag behind others in turnout of registered voters.
Among the factors that will affect Latino voter turnout are what the report called discriminatory voter identification requirements in Texas and other states (those who pushed the Texas requirements say they are not discriminatory but rather seek to maintain the integrity of the voting process). Another factor is Congress’ action — or lack thereof — on immigration reform, the report says.
“Polling of Latinos continues to indicate that Latino voters are paying close attention to the Congressional dialogue on immigration reform, and that the failure of Congress to act on the issue may influence how Latinos vote,” it says. “It is less clear whether this failure will mobilize Latinos who are not yet fully engaged in the political process to cast ballots in Election 2014.”
The association says there are more than 6,000 Latinos in elected offices nationwide, an increase from less than 5,000 in 2004. It found more than 2,500 Latino elected officials in Texas, including 48 at the federal and state level. Among those is Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, the first Latino U.S. Senator from Texas.