Arizona Week looks at the rising voting power of Arizona’s Latino population.
Thirty percent of Arizona's population identified as Latino in the last U.S. census, the state's largest and fastest-growing minority group.
In the last general election, half the Latinos eligible to vote in Arizona were registered, but a much smaller number actually voted.
Why haven’t Latinos come out to vote in larger numbers?
Part of it is age. The Latino population is an average of 10 years younger than non-Latinos, said John Garcia, a political science professor at the University of Arizona. Young people, in general, are less likely to register and vote.
“Part of it is you’re sort of finding your own self and establishing your own self, and you’ve got other things competing for your attention and energy,” Garcia said.
Jaime Molera, a Republican political strategist, said the national debate on immigration could push more Latinos to engage.
“It feels like they are being singled out,” Molera said. “Their heritage is being singled out as something that’s not good.”
Political analysts agreed Latinos are not a unified bloc.
“Latino voters are maturing," Democratic political strategist Mario Diaz said. "We are voting not for the candidate, but for the idea and for the vision."
On the program
- John Garcia, a political science professor at the University of Arizona.
- Jaime Molera, Republican political strategist from Phoenix
- Mario Diaz, Democratic political strategist from Phoenix
- Joseph Garcia, director of Latino Public Policy Center at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy in Phoenix
- The Buzz- The issue of carrying firearms at the state Capitol was raised this week after a representative noticed another lawmaker wearing a firearm.
Read and listen to the rest of AZPM’s series: