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Breaking News: 11.1 Million Latinos Turned Out to Vote in 2012, an Increase of 1.4 Million, but Hardly the 12.2 Million Everyone had been Led to Believe
The U.S. Census Bureau confirmed this week what many of us had correctly predicted - that there was no way 12.2 million Latinos would vote in the 2012 presidential election, that there was no way 2.5 million more Latinos would vote in 2012 than in 2008. Why? Because not enough Latinos were registered to vote, there was a lack of incentive to vote, and there was an abundance of disillusionment caused by inaction on immigration reform. The 12.2 million turnout prediction was simply not supported by any credible research, was not based on fact, was inconsistent with national patterns and trends dating back to 1972, was misleading, and at best was self-serving. And we should stop using technically distinct terms interchangeably. They don't mean the same thing. For most of last year and all of this year we have been told that Latinos comprised 10.8% of the electorate, implying that we were also 10.8% of all votes cast. The "electorate" and the "voting population" are not the same thing. Yes, we are 10.8% of the electorate, meaning persons who are citizens of voting age. But we were only 8.4% of the voting population, meaning of the votes cast. There's no need to deliberately mislead donors, the media, public officials, or the Latino

community. That's inexcusable. So we can be proud of our increase of 1.4 million more Latino votes cast in 2012 than in 2008. Black voter turnout increased 1.7 million, and Asian voter turnout increased 550,000. Non-Hispanic whites actually saw their turnout decrease by two (2) million. Youth voter turnout declined among all race groups, but especially among Non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics. I take no pleasure in writing this, but someone needs to set the record straight. Last year I celebrated 40 years as an advocate for social change and civic empowerment and I can tell you, accountability matters. At least it used to, and it still does to me. We owe it to the founders of our empowerment movement and to our community to do it right and tell it right. We can speak truth to power without inflating the numbers. The truth that finally came out this week doesn't change the fact that Latinos won the election for President Obama. It is still true that 76% of Latinos did vote for the President; more importantly the increase in Latino voter turnout was in the key electoral vote states he needed to win. When our critics start saying that, based on this Census report, our vote was actually less than what had been reported, 1.4 million instead of 2.5 million, tell them that it was still enough to reelect the President and save some seats in the U.S. House and Senate, and that Latinos will save and win more congressional seats in 2014 and in every subsequent election until our legislative agenda truly embodies America's agenda.

Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr. USHLI President

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