November 05 2008

November 5, 2008

Marie Watteau
Clarissa Martinez De Castro
(202) 785-1670

Washington, DC—Yesterday, Latino voters throughout the country turned out in record numbers to cast their ballots and make their voices heard. Initial exit polls suggest that at least ten million Latinos voted, representing an increase of 32% from the 2004 presidential election.

“Our message is loud and clear: the Latino vote matters,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic and civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. “The Latino community has demonstrated the influential role it is playing, and will continue to play, in American politics. We are inspired by the strong motivation of Latino voters, particularly first-time voters—overcoming information and sometimes language barriers—to make sure that their voices were heard in this election.”

“NCLR is proud of its work to grow the Latino electorate, including our contributions toward helping more than 1.5 million eligible immigrants apply for citizenship and registering more than 186,000 new Hispanic voters,” said Clarissa Martinez De Castro, NCLR Director of Immigration and National Campaigns.

Through ya es hora, an unprecedented public service campaign designed to help eligible legal permanent residents become citizens, and citizens become voters, NCLR and its partners—the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, Mi Familia Vota, Univision, Impremedia, and Entravision—helped more than 1.5 million people apply for citizenship over the last two years and provided support and information to help voters participate in the electoral process. Ya es hora also offered a bilingual hotline to voters in the weeks leading up to Election Day and on the day itself. Serving as a source of educational information for voters and providing election protection, the hotline received calls from more than 9,000 people.

NCLR’s partner, Democracia U.S.A., collected 138,000 voter registrations, an additional 23,000 people registered to vote through the ya es hora website, and NCLR Affiliates and other community organizations working through NCLR’s Latino Empowerment and Advocacy Project (LEAP) registered more than 25,000 new voters, many in emerging Latino communities. The LEAP organizations also reached out to 60,000 Latinos as part of their get-out-the-vote efforts. According to a recent report by the Immigration Policy Center, The New American Electorate, between 1996 and 2004 the number of new Americans registered to vote jumped nearly 60%. “Latino and new citizen voters turned out in record numbers, motivated by a desire to see a stronger economy, better jobs, and access to quality education and health care,” Murguía said. “They were also energized by the urgency of seeing immigration reform enacted and to voice their opposition to demeaning and dehumanizing rhetoric in the immigration debate.”


Issues: Civic Engagement