09/09/2008 - Latino voting power could reach a new high this presidential election, which is why local non-profits are urging the ethnic demographic that historically has the lowest voter turnout to hit the polls this November.
Since 2004, more than half a million Latinos became naturalized U.S. citizens, according to federal statistics. The demographic is also generally younger than any other racial group, which means more Latinos have come of voting age.
"About 50,000 Latinos a month turn 18 (in the United States) and are eligible to vote for the first time," said Mark Lopez, associate director at the Pew Hispanic Center.
But despite those swelling numbers, Latinos lag behind at the polls. Of all eligible voters in the 2004 presidential election, 47 percent of Latinos reported having voted, compared with 60 percent of Blacks and 67 percent of Whites, according to a Pew study.
Read the full report Voting Focus Turns to Latinos on the Arizona Republic's Web site.