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Report: Hispanic Voter Influence Could Lessen In 2012 Election

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File photo of a woman entering a voting booth. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

File photo of a woman entering a voting booth. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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LAS VEGAS (CBS Las Vegas) - A report recently released by the William C. Velasquez Institute shows Las Vegas as having one of the largest drops in annual growth rate of Hispanics, dipping from 8 percent in 2005-2006 to 2.4 percent in 2009-2010.

And last month, U.S. Census Bureau data showed that Hispanic voter registration had gone down from 11.6 million to 10.9 million between 2008 to 2010.

The information released by WCVI also showed that 2012 will see a projected 10.5 million Hispanic votes, significantly lower than a previous estimate of 12 million.

Hispanic voters were initially pegged by many as one of the more influential groups in the election, one of the most necessary demographics to win over to ensure a general victory. But these declines reflect a national trend that could potentially curb the influence Hispanic voters have in the 2012 election.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, who reported on the Census and WCVI reports, this is the first time since the 1970s that a growth was not seen in Hispanic voter registration during non-presidential voting cycles.

Overall, the Hispanic population in the United States is still growing, booming from 35.3 million in 2000 to 50.5 million in 2010 according to census data.

That growth rate is still slower than decades past though, and combined with economic considerations, results in both a lessening of voter registration among Hispanics, and a decrease in general civic involvement overall.

Grassroots political groups are determined to reverse the reported trend.

“The census data reflected a challenge that we have,” said Leo Murrieta, Nevada state coordinator for Mi Familia Vota, to the Sun. “The people are still out there, maybe they have moved or need to re-register. We are going to do what we’ve always done, which is hit the pavement hard and get them out to vote.”

Others agreed with Murrieta as far as the uphill battle facing Hispanic political activists, citing several reasons for the recent decline in registration.

“Some of our biggest challenges to increased participation are the lack of quality candidates and lack of faith in the process,” Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, told the paper. “It is a combination of factors … Statistics on the makeup of our community show that it is a relatively young community, and young populations across the board have lower political participation.”

Added Murguia, “High mobility rates also have a downward effect on participation.”

Attempts made by CBS Las Vegas to reach the William C. Velasquez Institute were not immediately returned.

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