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Why Are Latino Millenials Less Likely To Vote Than Baby Boomers?

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Approximately every 30 seconds, a Latino turns 18, and 70 percent of them automatically have the right to vote because they were born in the U.S. By the 2016 presidential election, 28 million Latinos will be eligible to vote, an increase from the present 25 million. Come this November’s midterm elections, only 8 million Latinos are expected to vote (about a third of those who are eligible). Most new voters are millennials, but they vote at half the rate of 60-year-old Latinos. This fact has motivated efforts by organizations such as Mi Familia Vota, Voto Latino and Rock the Vote to increase turnout amoung young Latinos. Churches and community organizations are encouraging young people to move beyond talking and tweeting about politics and get involved. Hispanic evangelicals, who have large numbers and actively urge young Hispanics to vote, could have a significant impact on the Latino vote.
Latino voters are likely to determine the outcome of 14 GOP-held House seats in districts with large Latino populations and narrow margins of victory in 2014. But that greatly depends on young Latinos’ voter turnout. About 26 percent of 18- to 24-year-old Hispanics voted in 2012, compared with 48 percent of those ages 67 to 74, in spite of the fact that millennials overall outnumber the 76 million baby boomers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Latino millennials are a part of one of the most racially diverse and economically damaged eras in modern times. Burdened with loan debt, poverty and unemployment, many are disenchanted with politics, and those who do decide to vote are increasingly less homogeneous. Many aren’t equally passionate about immigration reform, particularly second or third generation Latinos, who are more focused on jobs and education. However, this doesn’t mean that millennials don’t care about immigration.
“My parents’ generation … they were like, ‘How do we sever the ties?'” said Fernando Guerra, a professor of Chicano studies and the director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University. “Previous generations’ goal was to not be immigrants. Millennials don’t define it that way. They associate and relate to their immigrant past because it was politicized.”
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