Advocacy organizations are concerned Latinos may still be unaware of
Advocacy organizations are concerned Latinos may still be unaware of their eligibility in Colorado. Mi Familia Vota

Latinos residing in Colorado are poised to play a decisive role at the time of electing national representatives this year, both in suburban Denver and likely on the Western Slope, according to a report by Axios.

Latinos make up 22.5% of Colorado's total population of 5,877,610 people, the 21st largest of the 50 states, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates through July 2023.

The demographic represents about 15% of the state's voters at the moment, Metro State University political science professor Robert Preuh told the outlet.

The professor explained that the remaining 7% of Latinos who aren't eligible to vote this year are most likely too young to vote or their legal status in the country prevents them from casting a ballot.

Some Latinos in Colorado may not know they can vote, and advocacy organizations like Mi Familia Vota are working to change that.

"Latinos are the largest minority in the state of Colorado. One in ten voters is Latino now, but it should be two in ten. Only about half of eligible Latinos in our state vote. We want to encourage them to vote so that our voice can be heard," said Director Salvador Hernandez in an interview l with TV8 Conexión Latina last year.

The nonprofit expressed concern that, as the state has automatic voter registration, people may still be unaware of their eligibility as Latinos will be "critical" in deciding the victor in certain areas.

One of those areas is the 8th Congressional District, which stretches from north of Denver to Greeley and is considered among the most competitive ones in the country according to a ranking by the New York Times.

A sign to a polling station
An estimated 17.5 million Latino voters are expected to cast a ballot in the 2024 elections AFP

U.S. Rep. Yadira Caraveo, a Democrat running for re-election and the first Latina elected to Congress in Colorado, won the 8th Congressional District seat in 2022 partly thanks to Latino support.

Another key district in Colorado will be the 3rd Congressional District, covering the Western Slope and Pueblo, where the seat held by U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Republican, is now a wide-open race, according to Axios.

An estimated 17.5 million Latinos will vote in the United States this year, and about 20% will be casting their first presidential ballot.

New and younger Latino voters, who are set to take a key part in the 2024 election cycle, tend to be much more undecided than their counterparts and are more likely to identify as "independents," according to an analysis by BSP Research for UnidosUS presented at a press briefing.

A UnidosUS poll from 2023 also found that newer Latino voters are 14% less likely to identify as Democrats (45%) than more established voters (59%). They are also five points less likely to identify as Republican (18%) than Latino voters who have voted at least once (23%).

Top issues for Latinos this election cycle include inflation and the rising cost of living, jobs and the economy, and health care, according to the UnidosUS poll.

Colorado, which already has strong abortion protections in place, has just joined the handful of states that will take to the ballot whether the right to abortion care should be enshrined in the state constitution, which for some experts will drive Latino voter turnout, most likely favoring Democratic voter participation.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.