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Latino voter turnout drops

Latino voter turnout is still lagging behind other ethnic groups, according to a new study from the PEW Research Center. Despite rapid growth of eligible voters since the last election, only 48 percent of Latinos went to the polls in 2012.

Associate Director of the center, Mark Lopez, said the reason is where Latin-Americans live.

 “Many of the campaigns this year, in 2012, reached out to Hispanics in states like Nevada, like Colorado, like Florida – states that were battleground states,” said Lopez. “But half of Hispanic voters live in two states alone, Texas and California, and neither was a battleground in 2012, and that’s part of the reason why we see a somewhat lower voter turnout rate for Hispanics compared to others.”

Lopez said reaching young voters in all states may be a way to raise Latino turnout.

“Young people coming of age in an election year have the power to change this pattern,” Lopez said. “It’s really the youth that are an important part of the story.”

Voter turnout rates differed widely among Latino subgroups in 2012 too. Cuban-origin Latinos had the highest turnout, while the lowest was the Mexican-origin population.