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  1. #1
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    Latino voters' ballots to resonate

    http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/153530



    Published: 10.31.2006

    My opinion Maria Elena Salinas : Latino voters' ballots to resonate far beyond polling places next week
    My opinion Maria Elena Salinas
    SALINAS EN LA ESTRELLA
    Lea a María Elena Salinas en español los miércoles en La Estrella
    laestrella.azstarnet. com.
    Traditionally, voter turnout for midterm elections is lower than for presidential elections, but this year surveys are telling us that voters are more motivated than in the past. Support for the war in Iraq is at an all-time low, and people are disenchanted — to put it lightly — with President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress.
    For Latino voters, that disenchantment extends to the way our elected officials have handled the immigration issue. The questions are: Are they upset enough to show up at the polls next Tuesday? And if they do show up, how will they vote?
    One thing we know for sure is that the Latino vote is growing and could make a difference in key races. According to a recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center, there are now 17 million Hispanics eligible to vote — that's 7 percent more than in 2004. Although nationally they make up only 8.6 percent of all eligible voters, the percentages are much higher in states like California, New Mexico, Texas and New Jersey.
    As in every election, the only way to remotely predict how the electorate will behave is by taking a look at the polls. With Latinos, the core issues continue to be jobs and the economy, education, the war in Iraq, Medicare and health care. Although immigration is not in the top five, it is an important symbolic issue.
    Latino voters are U.S. citizens and do not have an immigration problem, but many feel that attacks against immigrants are attacks against their own parents, siblings, cousins, neighbors or friends.
    Among the hundreds of thousands who participated in immigrant marches in the spring were legal residents and U.S. citizens. Many carried signs that read, "Today we march, tomorrow we vote."
    Democracy Corps' survey of Latino voters in early June showed that after those marches, 62 percent of Latino voters felt more sympathetic toward immigrants. As a result, 56 percent were less likely to vote for a Republican candidate because of the immigration issue. In a more recent poll by the Latino Policy Coalition, eight in 10 Latino voters said the immigration issue is important in deciding whom to vote for.
    But there are other factors to consider that might make the link between the Latino vote and the immigration issue harder to predict. Seventy-five percent of Latino voters are U.S.-born citizens, and about a third of those are concerned about immigration. Also, there's been a 28 percent increase of naturalized eligible voters since 2004, and it is believed they are more motivated to go out and vote since it is their first opportunity to do so. Naturalized citizens are more likely to be against a hard-line position on immigration.
    It's still too early to know if the massive voter-registration campaigns by Hispanic civic organizations have been effective, but there are concerns among some immigrant-rights groups about possible voter intimidation. This is based on a letter in Spanish that was sent out in Orange County, Calif., a few weeks ago, stating that it is illegal for immigrants to vote and warning that they could be jailed or deported if they do so. The letter also warned that the federal government would use a computer database to scrutinize voters. Of course, immigrants can vote as soon as they become citizens.
    With so many Republican candidates across the country using the immigration issue as a scare tactic in their political ads, the results of the midterm election will not only tell us just how Latino voters respond, but also if the American people back the hard-line immigration attacks.
    My opinion
    Maria Elena Salinas
    SALINAS EN LA ESTRELLA
    Lea a María Elena Salinas en español los miércoles en La Estrella
    laestrella.azstarnet. com.
    Contact Maria Elena Salinas through her Web site, www.mariaesalinas.com.


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  2. #2
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    Racist race based politics.

    How insulting to think that all Hispanics should be appealed to politically as a group.

    W
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  3. #3
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    Naturalized citizens are more likely to be against a hard-line position on immigration.
    I don't know about this??!! It could be just the opposite. You are talking about people who followed the rules as opposed to cheaters!

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