On Wednesday, Nonprofit VOTE hosted a webinar debrief on 2014 voter turnout. For a more in-depth look at Latino turnout we wanted to share data from the experts at Latino Decisions and their 2014 Election Eve Poll, which summarizes data from interviews with 4,200 Latino voters in 10 states contacted between October 29 and November 3. Some of their findings are extremely relevant to nonprofits:

  • Why Latinos vote. Nationwide, 37% of Latinos said they were voting in 2014 to support the Latino community. This was the number one reason Latinos gave for turning out in 2014. With this in mind, nonprofits can tie an election to issues that affect their communities and help give nonvoters a reason to turn out.
  • Why Latinos don’t vote. Reasons for not voting: 24% said they didn’t know where their polling place was and 14% said they did not have the proper photo ID. Nonprofits can reduce or eliminate these reasons: Nonpartisan voter education, particularly helping voters find their polling place and acquire the necessary identification, can make the ballot box more accessible.
  • Who contacts Latino voters. Among Latino voters who were contacted, 32% were contacted by a community organization. This means that nonpartisan civic organizations are already playing an important role in mobilizing the Latino community, but that there is more we can do.

At a talk at Stanford University last week, Matt Barreto and Gary Segura of Latino Decisions talked a bit more broadly about Latino mobilization and turnout. Findings from other research indicate that culturally competent outreach is critical. Voters respond positively to Latino teachers, Latino firefighters, Latino doctors, and other Latino community leaders. 75% of those polled said that the would be more like to vote if asked to by family and friends. This mirrors other research on the key role trusted messengers play in get-out-the-vote work. In 2012, nonprofits in ten states tracked their contacts with voters. We found that turnout among Latinos contacted by nonprofits was 18 points higher than turnout for all registered Latino voters.

As 73,000 Latino citizens turn 18 and enter the electorate every month, the importance of mobilizing this historically low-turnout population will only increase. Let’s make sure these young people get into the habit of voting early.

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