Voters and volunteers wait in line for the Licking County Board of Elections to open in Newark, Ohio November 3, 2012. (Photo : Reuters)
Latino voters are expected to break previous voting records during this Tuesday's presidential election, Univision reported. According to the Spanish-language network, the National Latino Civic Engagement Table (NLCET) stated that Latino voters would be crucial in deciding the race in several key states.
NLCEL is a coalition of eight Latino groups that aim to promote increased Latino participation in the presidential election. On Friday, the coalition stated, "The Hispanic vote is expected to be crucial in several key states, like Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Arizona and Virginia. In fact, Hispanics have the power to decide several races, from the Senate to the presidency. But they must vote."
The coalition is entering the final phase of its voter outreach, called "Ya Es Hora. ¡Ve y Vota!" ("Now is the time. Go and Vote!"), just days left before the election. According to Univision, experts agree that the Latino vote in 2012 will be far more important than it has been in past elections.
The NALEO Education Fund estimates that Latinos will make up more than 12.2 million of the votes cast on Nov. 6, Univision reported. This estimate means a 25 percent increase from the 2008 vote, it stated. In 2008, a record 9.7 million Latinos voted in the presidential election, 2.2 million more than in November 2004.
Despite predicting record numbers of Latino voters this year, NLCET warned, "Voters of this community will face significant obstacles. These obstacles include state laws-such as voter ID requirements, restrictions to early voting and absentee voting, and doubtful purges of electoral lists-which will make it difficult for nearly 220 million Hispanics in at least five states to cast their votes."
In order to respond to these obstacles, Univision reported that NLCET has widened its telephone operators to include an addition 10 states with 150 volunteer operators available to answer voter's questions or to report any harassment by election functionaries and election observers.
According to Univision, the coalition will also have a team of lawyers available in cases where voters are prevented from voting or other irregularities. In 2008 alone, the bilingual line received 35 million calls, 8,200 of which were made during Election Day, Univision reported.
"There is a lot at stake in this election, the education of our children, the health of our families, the economy, jobs and immigration reform," NLCET said in its release. "Staying at home is not an option. The entire Hispanic community counts on the participation of eligible voters. Go and vote!"