Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Hispanic Voter Turn Out Growing in Georgia

While Georgia Hispanic voters turned out at a rate higher than the national average last fall, the polls continue to indicate that they lag significantly compared to other racial groups in the state. About 53 percent of Georgia’s Hispanic voters came out for the 2016 presidential election, and increase from 47 percent in 2012, according to a report from the nonpartisan Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials.

“Here in Georgia, we saw a dramatic increase, not only adding more voters but more voters actually going to the polls,” said Jerry Gonzalez, the association’s executive director.

Georgia gained more than 60,000 Hispanic voters since 2012, an increase of about 25 percent. Hispanics make up nearly 4 percent of the state’s registered voters, roughly a little more than 244,000 voters, according to the report’s count.

“It behooves candidates of all stripes to make sure that, whatever it is they are doing to reach out to their general electorate, that they take the Latino electorate as a viable segment of that. With elections getting tighter and tighter, a small percentage can certainly make a significant difference,” said Jerry Gonzalez.

While it is not clear why Hispanic turnout tends to lag, language barriers may play a role. A new voter may also come from a country where voting is not viewed the same way it is in the U.S.

The Valdosta Daily Times