Election Day 2013: Find Out How Latinos Will Affect Outcomes On Nov. 5 Across The US

Election Day 2013
Democratic candidate for mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, walks with his daughter Chiara (left), his wife Chirlane (second right) and son Dante after casting his vote in New York Nov. 5, 2013. Reuters

Election day 2013 has arrived  with candidates eagerly awaiting an outcome that could very well be determined by the Latino vote. As NBC reports, Latinos are helping to decide some key election outcomes this year. With the Hispanic demographic growing ever larger, as in the 2012 presidential election, the Latino vote has become a key deciding factor. In New York, Bill De Blasio is relying on a heavy Latino turn out to confirm his predicted mayoral victory. In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie will need the support of Hispanic voters to gain a second term. Meanwhile, in Virginia, immigration has become a significant topic for  both Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe. 

New York's mayoral election is well underway, with Bill De Blasio widely expected to triumph over Joe Lhota. New York's large Hispanic population will be a key factor in ensuring Mr. De Blasio's victory. According to 2011 U.S. Census data, Of the city's 2.4 million Latinos, half are citizens over 18. While many of these are ineligible to vote because of a lack of citizenship, as Angelo Falcon, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy states, "the Latino community is so big in the city that even with all these obstacles that exclude Latinos from the electorate, Latinos represent a big bloc of voters." De Blasio was keenly aware of this factor when he outlined his support for Government issued ID card for undocumented New York immigrans: "Without government-issued identification, entire families are trapped in limbo. The lack of ID can shut the doors to doctors' offices, banks, libraries, apartment rentals, charities-virtually anything you can think of." 

Meanwhile in New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie has been trying to repair the strained relationship between Hispanic voters and the GOP. Last month, the Governor came out in support of the In July, Christie stated that "Without government-issued identification, entire families are trapped in limbo. The lack of ID can shut the doors to doctors' offices, banks, libraries, apartment rentals, charities-virtually anything you can think of." Meanwhile, Michael Duhaime, a top Christie advisor expressed the view that "I think that as a party what we have done wrong is that we only talk to Hispanics in an election year, instead of doing it all the time. For us, there is dialogue and trust factor that we have built up." Christie's expected victory will serve as both a model for future Republican wooing of the Latino vote, as well as a warning to Democratic candidates not to take the Latino vote for granted. 

Finally, Virginia's gubernatoria; vote has come to center around immigration as a key topic. Virginia boasts over 200,000 registered Latino voters. Former Democratic Party chairman Tery McAuliffe has secured support from Latino voters because of his support for DREAMers, that is young undocumented immigrants, to become legal permanent residents. Both McAuliffe and state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli have sent out mailers with information on how each candidate has dealt with the issue of immigration. 

No matter the outcomes of these elections, it has become clear that both sides of America's political landscape need to understand the needs of Latino voters, who now make up the largest ethnic minority in the country. Mathew McClellan, executive director of the National Council of La Raza Action Fund suggests that this election "can be a picture of what is coming in 2014. We have the midterms then and as an organization, if this issue is not resolved by the end of this Congress then we will be definitely telling our constituency to take a look at who had action and who has not had action."

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Oscar Lopez is a Brooklyn-based writer. Originally from Mexico, Oscar moved with his family to Australia in 2000. Graduating from the University of Melbourne in 2011 with a BA (Honors) Oscar was awarded the Keith Macartney Scholarship for the Arts, the Louise Homfrey Award and the Hannah Barry Memorial Award. As well as reporting for Latin Times, Oscar's writng has been featured in Newsweek, New York Magazine (nymag.com) and Musee Magazine.