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Latino Voter Registration, Voting Rates Reached All-Time High in 2020 Elections: Study

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What to Know

  • Latino voter registration and voting rates rose to a historic high in the November 2020 elections, according to a report by the City University of New York's Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies (CLACLS ).
  • According to the Graduate Center of The City University of New York’s CLACL's report, Latino voter registration rates rose to 61.1% and Latino voting rates (the percentage of Latinos eligible to vote who actually voted) also rose to a historic high of 53.7% in the November 2020 elections.
  • The report, titled “Latino Voter Registration and Participation Rates in the 2020 Presidential Election,” examined trends by age, nativity, sex, and state in the United States.

Latino voter registration and voting rates rose to a historic high in the November 2020 elections, according to a report by the City University of New York's Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies (CLACLS ) which took a look into the changes in voter registration and participation rates among Latinos in the country.

The report, titled “Latino Voter Registration and Participation Rates in the 2020 Presidential Election,” examined trends by age, nativity, sex, and state in the United States.

According to the Graduate Center of The City University of New York’s CLACL's report, Latino voter registration rates rose to 61.1% and Latino voting rates (the percentage of Latinos eligible to vote who actually voted) also rose to a historic high of 53.7% in the November 2020 elections.

About 18.7 million Latinos voted in 2020, up from 15.3 million votes cast in 2016, an increase of nearly 30%. Latino voters accounted for 10.2% of all votes cast in 2020. Overall, nearly 88% of registered Latino voters voted in 2020, a historic high -- this percentage is up from 83.1% in 2016.

The report found that nearly 60% of all eligible Latino voters were between 18 and 44 years of age. Voting rates rose significantly among 18- to 24-year-old Latinos, from 38.4% in 2016 to 44.1% in 2020.

Additionally, according to the report, Latinos born in the U.S. made up 74.4% of all Latino votes cast in 2020, whereas naturalized Latino citizens comprised 25.6% of total Latino votes.

The study also noted that across all age groups, Latinas voted more than Latinos. Among 18 to 24-year-olds, 44.1% of Latinas voted compared to 38.4% of Latinos in 2020. In the 45-64 age category, these percentages were 61.7% and 58.7% respectively, according to the study.

Although there was an increase from 2016, Latino voting rates continued to lag behind those of non-Hispanic whites (70.9%), African Americans (62.6%), and Asians (59.7%), the study also found.

“It has been clear for some time that the key to increasing Latino voter participation has been the challenge of finding strategies to motivate the Latino electorate to register to vote,” said study co-author Laird Bergad, a Distinguished Professor at the Graduate Center and Latin American and Latino Studies at Lehman College, CUNY. “This report suggests a major shift upward in registration and voting rates among the Latino electorate. Hopefully, these trends will continue into the future.”

The study concluded that the data presented marks a distinctive break with the past among Latinos eligible to vote. From the 1992 presidential election and before, Latino voter registration rates rarely surpassed 58% and the voting rate was never greater than half of all eligible Latino voters. However, both rates have increased steadily until the 2020 election, the study found.

The surge in both registration and voting rates described suggests that Latinos are poised to exert political influence in the U.S. commensurate with their share of the population, the study concludes, adding that "the mid-term elections and the presidential election of 2024 may confirm that the often-called ‘sleeping giant’ of U.S. electoral politics is ready to emerge in full force."

“The data presented in this report show that our community continues to exert greater political influence – from Michigan to Pennsylvania to Texas. We are certainly not ‘the sleeping giant’ as many have called us but a roaring force to be reckoned with,” said study co-author Luis A. Miranda, Jr., a founding partner at MirRam Group and board chair of the Latino Victory Fund.

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