Sevilla says Hispanic vote will be pivotal in upcoming election
The inevitable approach of the presidential election has partisans scrambling to garner the votes necessary to win, and pundits say the Latino vote could prove decisive on Election Day.
When Max Sevilla, director of policy and legislative affairs for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), spoke to University students Friday, he was confident that the Latino vote would be a major, if not pivotal, factor in the presidential election in November.
“In the 2000, 2004 and 2008 presidential elections the Latino vote played a major role, especially in states such as Florida,” he said. “The number of Latino voters this fall is expected to be 12.2 million, over 10 percent of the total number of voters.”
The Latino vote could make the difference for President Barack Obama’s reelection, Center for Politics spokesperson Geoff Skelley said.
Especially important for Latino voters is the issue of immigration, a policy that could make or break candidates’ chances of success Nov. 6.
“Latino voters have been concerned by President Obama,” Sevilla said. “He made a promise to tackle immigration reform and it is safe to say that that hasn’t happened. In four years Obama has deported more than 1.2 million immigrants, more than twice the number that George W. Bush deported in eight years of office.”
But Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has also turned off some Latino voters, Sevilla said. Romney has supported a number of pieces of legislation that are detrimental to Latinos, including Senate Bill 1070, a bill in Arizona that requires immigrants older than 14 years old staying in the United States longer than 30 days to carry identification. Failure to do so is considered a federal misdemeanor.
“Mitt Romney is not without fault,” Sevilla said. “… Many of us feel that that [his stance] doesn’t represent the values of Americans.”