Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hispanic vote in North Carolina has doubled in last 4 yrs

Hispanic vote in North Carolina has doubled in last 4 yrs

Published May 23, 2012

The proportion of Hispanic voters in North Carolina, which is considered to be a key state in the upcoming presidential election, has doubled over the past four years, according to a recent analysis by the Institute for Southern Studies.

The report, based on figures from the state election board, emphasized the Tar Heel state's changed circumstances, given that its voting age population is becoming more diverse.

In May 2008, there were 44,719 registered Hispanic voters in the state, or 0.8 percent of the total, and as of the same month this year there were 91,554, representing 1.5 percent of the North Carolina electorate.

According to the analysis, the number of voters in North Carolina who did not identify themselves as white grew by 5.6 percent since 2008 to 29 percent of the total.

This increase has placed North Carolina in a similar position to states like Florida, where the number of non-white voters grew by 2.2 percent between July 2008 and January 2012, making up 30 percent of registered voters, the report said.

"This is a significant achievement that is due to several factors," Carlos Casallas, the coordinator of special projects for the North Carolina state election board, told Efe on Wednesday.

"Hispanics from other states are moving to the area and registering to vote, registration campaigns in the community, naturalizations of resident immigrants and 18-year-old youths are more excited about participating in the electoral process," he said.

The 2010 Census revealed that the Latino population of North Carolina grew by 111 percent during the past decade to 800,120 people, representing 8.4 percent of the state's residents.

Regarding voter registration by party, 43.8 percent of the Hispanic voters were registered as Democrats, 18.5 percent as Republicans and 37 percent as independents.

"The work over 22 years to register Hispanics and motivate them to go to the polls ... finally has born fruit," German De Castro, of the Hispanic Voters of Mecklenburg group, told Efe on Wednesday in Charlotte, where the Democratic National Convention will be held in September.

"These figures will attract the attention of the parties and I'm sure they will pay more attention to our community, sending working teams to seek support, but our challenge will be to demonstrate our voting power next Nov. 6," he said.

De Castro noted that in past elections North Carolina Hispanics showed what they could achieve, because Barack Obama took the state by a mere 14,177 votes, becoming the first Democratic presidential nominee to do so since 1976.

A post-election analysis by the Immigration Policy Center emphasized that the 20,468 Hispanics who voted in the state were "indispensable" in ensuring that Obama won the White House.

History could repeat itself if the ongoing stable increase in minority voter registration continues in the state.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties have specifically acknowledged the importance of the Hispanic electoral bloc and have designed strategies to capture the maximum support possible from the community. 


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