A new report by Latino Decisions, a political opinions research firm, reveals the turnout for the 2014 midterm elections was especially low among Latino registered voters.
The 31 March report revealed overall voter turnout reached a rate of 35.9% during the 2014 elections, a decline from 41.8% in 2010. All states where complete data was available showed a significantly lower Latino voter turnout than overall turnout.
Latino Decisions' Matt Barreto points to data from the state of Florida as particularly crucial. Florida had a 50.5% state-wide voter turnout but only a 36.5% Latino voter turnout. According to Barreto, if Latino voter turnout had matched state-wide voter turnou, an additional 276,000 Latino votes would have been cast.
"Given the Florida governor's election was decided by just 64,000 votes, those additional 276,000 Latino votes could have proved critical," Barreto wrote.
Other key states, such as Colorado, North Carolina and Nevada also showed a significantly lower Latino turnout. Those votes would have been critical in deciding the US Senate election in Colorado, where the decision was made on just 40,000 votes. Colorado Latino voter turnout was only 54.8%, a 16.5 point difference from state-wide turnout.
Nevada similarly saw especially low Latino voter turnout, with only 31% of registered Latino voters turning out to the polls.
Barreto places the blame on a lack of competitive state-wide elections as well as a lack of effort in mobilising the Latino vote.
The results from Latino Decisions' study are far from surprising. An April 2014 student at the Pew Research Center found that while Latinos have voted in record numbers in the recent elections, their turnout rate continues to fall behind that of white and black voters.
Unlike Barreto, Pew places some of the blame on the overall youth of the Latino electorate.
It remains to be seen how many Latinos will turnout to vote in the upcoming presidential elections. Data reveals voter turnout during presidential races tend to be much higher than during midterm elections. With important issues at stake, such as immigration reform, more Latinos may be motivated to vote.