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More Latino midterm voters expected in 3 battleground states

As many as 1 in 10 midterm voters will be Latino, according to estimates by NALEO. While Hispanic turnout could jump in some states, it could drop in Texas and others.
2020 U.S. presidential election in Arizona
Voters line up at a polling station in the majority Hispanic neighborhood of Maryvale in Phoenix on Nov. 3, 2020.Edgard Garrido / Reuters file

Latino voter turnout in this year's midterms should mirror the historic participation in 2018, with about 11.6 million Hispanics voting in congressional and state elections, a Latino group estimated Thursday.

Of 11 battleground states, three — Arizona, Nevada and Colorado — should see a jump in their Hispanic turnout, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund projected.

Arizona will see a 9.6 percent increase in Latino voters; in Colorado, the jump should be 8.9 percent, and in Nevada, 5.8 percent, according to NALEO’s analysis.

But two, Texas and New Mexico, could see drops.

"In 2022, Latino voters will once again be a decisive element of the national electorate with 1 out of 10 Latinos being voters," Arturo Vargas, the group's CEO, said.

The national non-Hispanic vote is projected to decrease by 3.8 percent, he said.

The turnout factor

The share of Hispanics who vote in the midterms is likely to be smaller than in 2018, because there’s been an increase in the number of Latinos who are eligible to vote.

Rosalind Gold, NALEO’s chief public policy officer, said Texas saw a jump in Hispanic voters in 2018. But without substantial Latino outreach and other factors, the state may not reach the levels of 2018, and turnout may fall about 6.4 percent.

The same would be true for New Mexico; it could see a 9.8 percent drop, although Latinos should be about a third of its electorate, Vargas said.

Turnout estimates are based on objective factors and don't take into account the pandemic, candidate investment in Latino voters and changes in voting laws.

"We want to be proved wrong, we see these numbers as a floor," Vargas said.

The 2018 midterm elections saw a 71.4 percent increase in Latino votes from 2014, when about 6.8 million Hispanics cast their ballots.

An estimated 32 million U.S. Latinos were eligible to vote in 2020. Each year, hundreds of thousands of Latino U.S. citizens turn 18, becoming eligible to vote. However, about half of Hispanics who are eligible don’t vote.

“Despite this growth, there is clearly still more work to do in many parts of the country to help Latinos reach their full political potential,” Vargas stated.

Traditionally, the party of the president does poorly in the midterms. President Joe Biden is a Democrat.

Republicans have been hoping to see Hispanic voter support similar to that seen by then-President Donald Trump in 2020, who overperformed with the Latino electorate, especially in some states such as Texas and Florida.

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