The Increasingly Important Role of Latinos in Arizona’s Elections
Latinos throughout the country, and particularly in the freshly-minted battleground state of Arizona, are quickly becoming the most important voting bloc for the upcoming November elections. This was emphasized by several speakers during the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund Political Convention Briefing Series. This conversation highlighted the importance of the Latino vote, as well as how COVID-19 will play a role in the upcoming Presidential election. Chief Executive Officer of NALEO, Arturo Vargas, projected about 14.5 million Latino voters will participate in the upcoming 2020 elections, insisting that the Latino vote will be a deciding factor. California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla also touched on the importance mail-in ballots will have in adapting to challenges with in-person voting due to COVID-19. Participants also encouraged Latinos to vote early and at home to create shorter lines on election day and make voting as safe as possible.
Latinos make up 24% of eligible voters in Arizona, and their share of the electorate has grown significantly over the past several elections. Additionally, nationwide, Hispanic voter turnout (of voting age population) went from 27% to 40% between 2014 and 2018, which represented a 50% increase, and the biggest increase amongst all racial groups, including whites. Hispanic turnout still trailed White turnout 40% to 57% in 2018, but the increase in turnout was notable. In Arizona, Hispanic voter turnout was 48.8% in 2018, much higher than national turnout.