Elections in the US: What is the importance of the Latino vote and how many can vote?

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They are the first minority in the country. With a record 32 million qualified Hispanics, they will be key in Tuesday’s elections.

Hispanics are the first ethnic minority in the United States and a record number can vote this year in the November 3 elections, making them a key electorate for the campaigns of Republican President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Here are some facts about Latino voters from the Census Bureau, the Pew Research Center, and Latino Decisions consultancy.

The Hispanic population in the United States is estimated at 60.6 million people, 18% of the total, according to 2019 data. And this year, a record number of 32 million Latinos are eligible to vote.

This makes them the first racial and ethnic minority of the electorate, with 13.3% of the total, compared to 7.4% in 2000.

Mexico is the place of origin of the majority (61.9%). It is followed far behind by Puerto Rico, a US territory in the Caribbean (9.7%, not counting the population on the island). In the rest, among those with the highest percentage are Cuba (4%), El Salvador (3.9%) and the Dominican Republic (3.5%).

Venezuelans are the group that has grown the most in recent years among Latinos in the United States, in addition to Guatemalans and Hondurans.

A quarter of eligible Latino voters are naturalized citizens.

Five states have the most Hispanic voters: California (7.9 million), Texas (5.6 million), Florida (3.1 million), New York (2.0 million) and Arizona (1.2 million).

In New Mexico, Latinos make up the largest proportion of the entire population eligible to vote (43%); in Florida, they are 20% of the total.

In the United States, where voting is not mandatory, being eligible to vote does not mean that you register to do so, and then finally go to the polls.

Latino abstention has traditionally been high. In the last presidential election, in 2016, a record turnout was expected, but it was barely 47.6%, failing to exceed 48% in 2012, and below 49.9% in 2008.

The 2018 midterm elections generated more excitement among Hispanics. But fear of the coronavirus and a lack of information about voting by mail may hold back Hispanic participation, according to polls.

Historically, Hispanics have voted more for Democrats, identified with the color blue, than by the Republicans, associated with red. But now both Trump and Biden are fighting vote by vote for this crucial group.

The Democrat with the most Latino support was Bill Clinton in 1996 (73%); the Republican was George W. Bush in 2004 (44%).

In 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton garnered 66% of the Latino vote, compared to 28% for Republican Trump.

In the United States, the president and vice president are elected by indirect vote. To win, a candidate must obtain at least 270 votes from the Electoral College. Except in two states (Nebraska and Maine), the candidate who gets the most votes gets all of the state’s big voters.

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