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Latino Daily News

Tuesday November 6, 2012

ELECTION:  Hispanic Voters in ARizona Energized Around Anti-Immigrant Laws

ELECTION:  Hispanic Voters in ARizona Energized Around Anti-Immigrant Laws

Photo: Latino Voters in Arizona

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The approval of harsh laws like SB 1070 against undocumented immigration in Arizona has served as an engine to increase voter registration and the mobilization of the vote among Hispanics.

In recent months, different organizations in Arizona have worked hard to register new Hispanic voters and convince them to go to the polls.

“In Arizona approximately 50,000 new Hispanic voters have been registered, of whom more than 20,000 signed up for early voting,” Francisco Heredia, director of the Mi Familia Vota group in Arizona, told Efe.

He said that, although Arizona is not considered a swing state in the presidential election, the movement that is being seen among the Hispanic community will transform it into a competitive state in the future.

“During these elections the political power the Hispanic voter has is going to be shown, something that could change the stance of some politicians, who will have to come to our communities to be able to win our vote,” Heredia said.

He said that the Hispanic vote could be the decisive factor that determines close races such as the one between Democrat Richard Carmona, a former U.S. surgeon general who aspires to become the first Hispanic senator from Arizona.

According to figures compiled by Mi Familia Vota, 274,000 Hispanics voted in Arizona in the last presidential election.

“What we’re seeing currently, with the early voting, is that just through the end of the month of October more than 100,000 Hispanic voters already voted by mail in our state,” said Heredia.

In recent years, Arizona has approved a series of laws that seek to penalize undocumented immigrants, but the enactment in 2010 of SB 1070 was a point where the Hispanic community said “enough,” according to Heredia.

SB 1070 was the first state law to criminalize the presence of undocumented immigrants.

“We’re seeing great progress within our community in participating in our country’s civic life, something that we had not seen in the past decade,” Heredia emphasized.