2020 Hispanic voter participation surged 30 percent compared to 2016: Analysis

2020 Hispanic voter participation surged 30 percent compared to 2016: Analysis
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Hispanic voter participation grew by nearly 30 percent from 2016 to 2020, with 16.1 million Hispanics casting a ballot in the latest presidential election, according to an analysis of certified voter turnout data.

The report, published Thursday and conducted by Univision in partnership with Labels and Lists (L2), shows the highest Hispanic voter participation since at least 1996, with about half of all Latino eligible voters casting a ballot.

In the six presidential elections prior to 2020, fewer than half of eligible Hispanic voters cast ballots, according to the Pew Research Center.

Pew estimated that 32 million Hispanics were eligible to vote in 2020, and 16.1 million voted, according to L2's numbers.

"In pretty much every metric where we're measuring it data-wise, new registrations, overall registration, early turnout, and then Election Day turnout, Hispanics pushed ahead and jumped ahead in 2020," said Paul Westcott, executive vice president of L2.

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And 30 percent of those new voters were young, between the ages of 18 and 34; participation in that age group grew 41 percent, compared to 20 percent growth among non-Hispanics.

Youth participation is critical for the Hispanic vote, as Hispanics are on average younger than other racial or ethnic groups, and around a million U.S. Hispanics age into voter eligibility every year.

The overall rise in participation was driven primarily by increases among first-time voters — 3.6 million first-time Hispanic voters turned out — and by adoption of mail and early voting.

Hispanic voter registration rose 24 percent between 2016 and 2020, when 23.6 million Hispanics were registered. That gain outpaced registration among the rest of the population, which grew 9 percent during that same period.

Registered Hispanic voters have historically participated at relatively high rates, and that trend held in the last four-year period, with 68 percent of registered Hispanic voters casting a ballot in 2020, compared to 65 percent in 2016.

Party affiliation at registration varied by state, but nationally independent registrations outpaced party affiliation, growing by 30 percent, compared to a 23 percent rise in Republican registrations and a 22 percent rise in Democratic registrations.

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The report released Thursday drilled down into Hispanic voter turnout in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Texas — all states where Hispanic registration grew by double digits.

The fastest growth was in Georgia, where Hispanic registrations surged by 82 percent, accounting for 10 percent of all the new registrations in the state, and where Hispanics only account for 5 percent of all registered voters.

In California and Texas — states where Hispanics compose nearly a third of all voters — Hispanic registrations increased at a slower pace.

In Florida, Hispanic independent voter registrations grew 32 percent, while GOP registrations grew 31 percent and Democratic registrations grew 19 percent.

Still, 37 percent of Hispanics who voted in the state were registered Democrats, while 30 percent were registered Republicans and 33 percent independents.

In all the states surveyed, more Hispanics were registered as Democrats than as Republicans. But in Georgia, a majority of Hispanic voters in 2020 were registered as independents.

"Regardless of their party affiliation, Hispanic registration just grew faster than non-Hispanics, and I think now more than ever campaigns just realize they can not afford to miss out on this opportunity to win over this audience," said Michele Day, senior vice president at Univision.