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Georgia’s Latino Electorate in 2008: A Significant Segment of the Electorate with High Voter Partici

Added on 2009-06-30
Written by Jerry Gonzalez, GALEO
Report Link: 063009GLVAnalysisTOTALv1.pdf

Georgia’s Latino Electorate in 2008: A Significant Segment of the Electorate with High Voter Participation and Engagement

June 30, 2009

Authored by:

Jerry Gonzalez, M.P.A
Executive Director
Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) & The GALEO Latino Community Development Fund

Voter Turn-Out Database Analysis Conducted by:

Trey Hood, Ph.D.
Department of Political Science, University of Georgia (Athens, GA)

&

Latino Surname Match Conducted by:

Gladys Negrete, Data Analyst
NALEO Educational Fund (Los Angeles, CA)

Editing Contributions by:

Jose Blanco, P.H.R.
Program Coordinator
The GALEO Latino Community Development Fund

Additional contributions by:

• Cate Faulkner, International Studies at Georgia Southern University (2012)

• Nubia Guido, History Major at Wake Forest University, Winston Salem, NC (2010)

• Jonathan Duarte, Industrial Engineer from Georgia Institute of Technology (2009)

Funding for the report was provided by
GALEO and the Sociological Initiatives Foundation.


Executive Summary

As of January 2009 and based upon the analysis in this report, Latino voters have now
reached 145,991, representing 3% of the electorate in Georgia. Georgia’s Latino
electorate had a higher voter turn out rate of 53.8% as compared to the national Latino
voter turn out rate of 49.9%, 3.9 percentage points higher that the national rate.

Immigration is an important issue which has increased voter participation and
engagement amongst the Latino voters. Harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric has been a
losing proposition for many “hardliners” in the 2008 Congressional races. Georgia
Legislators should pay close attention to the Latino voter participation rates. Latino
voters have engaged and will continue to exercise their right to vote, while considering
the anti-immigrant climate being created by some elected officials. As the debate on
immigration moves forward, many elected officials are openly discussing the political
impact the immigration issue could have in future elections, especially in attracting
Latino voters.

On Thursday, June 25, 2009, President Obama began with a bipartisan national dialog
on moving forward with comprehensive immigration reform.

“We have members of Congress from both chambers, from parties, who have
participated in the meeting and shared a range of ideas. I think the consensus is
that despite our inability to get this passed over the last several years, the
American people still want to see a solution in which we are tightening up our
borders, or cracking down on employers who are using illegal workers in order to
drive down wages -- and oftentimes mistreat those workers. And we need a
effective way to recognize and legalize the status of undocumented workers who
are here.”---President Obama1

1 Brandon, Katherine. “Working Together for Immigration Reform.” The White House: The Blog. June 25, 2009. Available online:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/Working-Together-for-Immigration-Reform/


Demonstrating Georgia’s Latino electorate and voter turn out, here are some highlights
of the report:

• 54% of the Latino electorate is under the age of 40.

• 59% of the Latino electorate has registered post 2004 indicating recent electoral
activity.

• Statewide, 53.8% of Latino registered voters voted in the 2008 General Election,
out performing the national Latino voter turn out rate of 49.9%.

• Latino voter turn out for the 2008 General Election surpassed national Latino
voter turn out rates in the majority of jurisdictions.

o 80% of the 20 metropolitan Atlanta counties surpassed the national Latino
voter turn out rate of 49.9%.

o All of the counties with the highest Latino density in the state (Gwinnett,
Cobb, Fulton and Dekalb) surpassed the Latino voter turn out rate by
more than 6 percentage points of the national Latino voter turn out rate of
49.9%.

o Nine out of thirteen Congressional Districts out-performed the national rate
of Latino voter turn out.

o 64.4% (116 out of 180) of the Georgia House Districts demonstrated to be
at or above the national Latino voter turn out rate.

o 64.3% (36 out of 56) of the Georgia Senate Districts demonstrated Latino
voter turn out higher than the national Latino voter turn out rate.

• Between January 2003 and June 2009, both Cobb and Gwinnett Counties
demonstrated amazing growth in the “Non-white” (Black, Latino, Asian, Indian
and Other) category. In fact, Cobb County grew the “Non-white” category by
68,904 registered voters while the “White” category only grew by 37,023.
Similarly in Gwinnett County, the “Non-white” category grew by 111,312
registered voters while the White category grew only by 37, 859 voters.


The report also analyzes density and Latino voter turn out in Congressional and State
Legislative Districts:

U.S. Representative John Linder (R-Duluth) has the highest density of Latino
registered voters with 23,185, attributing for 4.6% of his electorate. In the 2008
General Election, Latino voter turn out rate in his district was 57.7%, above the
national Latino voter turn out rate of 49.9% by 7.8 percentage points.

U.S. Representative Tom Price (R-Roswell) had the highest Latino voter turn out
in the state for the 2008 General Election with 61.6%, 11.7 percentage points
higher than the national Latino voter turn out rate of 49.9%. U.S. Representative
Price (R-Roswell) accounts for 15,186 Latino registered voters, or 3% of his
electorate.

• Georgia State Senator Renee Unterman (R-SD45) has 7,737 Latino registered
voters in her district, accounting for 5.4% of her electorate. Latino voters in
Senator Unterman’s district demonstrated a 60.9% voter turn out during the 2008
General Election.

• Georgia State Senator Curt Thompson (D-SD5) has 6,252 Latino registered
voters in his district, accounting for 10.7% of his electorate.


• Georgia Senator Jack Murphy (R-SD27), lead author of SB67-legislation which
would have made Georgia the only state in the nation with an English-only
provision for driver’s license exams, accounts for 4,607 Latino registered voters,
or 3% of his electorate. Latino voter turn out rate in the 2008 General Election
for Senator Murphy’s District was 63.3%, 13.4 percentage points higher than the
national average.

• Georgia State Senator and Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-SD21)
demonstrated the second highest Senate District’s Latino voter turn out rate in
the 2008 General Election with 64.7%, significantly higher than the national
Latino voter turn out rate by 14.8 percentage points. There are 3,942 Latino
registered voters in this district, or 3.4% of his electorate.


• Georgia State Representative Roger Williams (R-Dalton) accounts for 2,976
Latino registered voters, which is 14% of his electorate.

The numbers and the analysis presented in this report indicate a significant Latino
electorate that is engaging quickly. The Latino electorate cares about the issue of
immigration and has demonstrated a capacity to turn out to vote. As the 2010 election
unfolds, candidates and elected officials should consider the Latino electorate seriously
because Latino voters in Georgia are engaged and participate in elections.

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