A record 25 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the upcoming midterm elections, and if history is a guide they will also cast a record number of votes, according to a new report.
But if history holds true as well, Latinos will leave far more votes on the table than they cast, due to participation rates that significantly lag those of whites or African-Americans.
The nonpartisan Pew Research Center examined Latino voters and their potential impact on the 2014 midterm elections, finding that they have a small share of the potential vote in most of the high-profile races that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.
The report, released Thursday, also detailed how the eligible Latino voting population has grown with each midterm election cycle: In 2002, for example, there were about 14.5 million Latino U.S. citizens who were adults and therefore eligible to participate in elections; that will be 25.2 million this year.
But not all eligible voters are registered to do so, Pew pointed out, and not all registered voters actually vote. During the 2010 midterm elections, a record 6.6 million Latinos voted, and their turnout rate was 31.2 percent – below whites (48.6 percent) and African-Americans (44 percent).
“More than twice as many Hispanics – 14.7 million – could have voted but did not,” the report said of the 2010 midterm elections. Pew’s analysis was based on U.S. Census Bureau data and Pew Research Center surveys. The full report can be accessed here.