New Data Shows Latino Electorate Continues to Experience Wide Variety of Voting Problems at Polling Place

  • Long waits, lack of Spanish assistance and issues with identification among problems noted by Latino registered voters.
  • New letter to DOJ calls for deployment of election monitors to areas of concern to ensure voter-intimidation does not affect Latinos and other underrepresented communities

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With two weeks to go before Election Day, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund and Noticias Telemundo released the results of the sixth wave of an eight week tracking poll of Latino registered voters, as well as a new letter from NALEO Educational Fund to the Department of Justice that calls for urgent action in light of recent candidate comments encouraging voter-intimidation at the polls this year.

Results from week six of the NALEO Educational Fund/Noticias Telemundo/Latino Decisions Weekly Political Tracking Poll offer exclusive insights into the Latino electorate 14 days out from Election Day, including problems at the polls, electoral participation via early voting and absentee ballot, efforts to encourage family and friends to vote, and more.  The poll was conducted by Latino Decisions between October 16–22, 2016, with findings based on analysis of 250 new Latino registered voter interviews and 250 interviews from the previous week.

Key findings from week six of the poll include:

  • Latino voters continue to experience a wide variety of problems at the polls.  Nearly one in five Latino voters (18 percent) reported being told previously that they could not vote, with Republican Latinos (24 percent) and those of Mexican descent (25 percent) more likely to experience issues.*
  • Long wait lines are the most frequent issue experienced by Latino voters, but there are other serious problems occurring.  More than one in four (27 percent) of Latino voters reported experienced waiting in long lines at the polls.  Other serious concerns include a lack of Spanish language assistance and information available (16 percent), problems with the identification required to register or vote (11 percent), issues with registration (16 percent) and voter roll file errors (15 percent).
  • The majority of Latino voters have encouraged others to vote in Election 2016.  More than 56 percent of Latino voters stated they have tried to convince friends and family to vote like they will, with Democrats (66 percent) more likely to do so than Republicans (59 percent) this election.*
  • Early voting, mail-in voting and absentee ballot voting remain popular options for Latino voters in 2016.  More than 14 percent of Latino voters reported already casting their ballots via early voting, mail-in or absentee ballot, with 28 percent of Latino voters indicating their plans to do so this election. The remaining half of Latino voters stated they will vote at their polling place location on Election Day.

“Recent comments by candidates that call into question the right to vote for Latinos and millions of Americans are outrageous, counter to our values as a nation, and downright dangerous,” stated Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund executive director.  “We are calling on the Department of Justice to ensure Election 2016 is carried out in accordance with our nation’s highest democratic ideals by deploying the monitors and resources needed so that Latinos and all Americans can exercise their right to vote free of intimidation and threats.”

In a letter sent to the Department of Justice today, NALEO Educational Fund has urged officials to deploy poll monitors and resources to jurisdictions with smaller populations, populous urban centers, and regions undergoing rapid demographic changes that include an increase in foreign- and Puerto Rican-born populations.  NALEO Educational Fund also called for continued public statements making clear that voter-intimidation and threats will not be tolerated, and that the Department’s Voting Section and Criminal Division staff and U.S. Attorneys will consider and pursue appropriate remedial action to those who choose to participate in this course of action.

Latino voters are expected to play a critical role in the race for the White House.  NALEO Educational Fund projects that more than 16.2 million Latinos are registered to vote this year, with at least 13.1 million Latinos expected to cast ballots in Election 2016.

In the lead up to Election Day, NALEO Educational Fund will continue its efforts to ensure that Latino voters have the information necessary to make their voices heard at the ballot box.  These efforts include operating our toll-free bilingual hotline 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-888-839-8682) that provides Latino voters with information on every aspect of the electoral process, from registering to vote, to voter ID requirements, to finding their polling place.  On Election Day, the hotline will be connected to the Election Protection efforts and 1-866-OUR-VOTE, offering Latino voters nationwide a bilingual resource to get assistance and report any problems they may experience at the polls.

*The margin of sampling error for results based on the total sample is +/-4.4 percentage points. Error margins increase for smaller subgroups in the cross-tabulation results above. 

The full toplines and cross-tabulations for week six of the eight week tracking poll are available here and here.

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About NALEO Educational Fund
NALEO Educational Fund is the nation’s leading non-partisan, non-profit organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.

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