Hispanic Voter Participation
The key barriers to voting for Hispanic voters in the US are Missing Registrations; Missing and Unsolicited Mail Ballots; Broken Equipment; Long Lines, and Website Crashes; Inadequate Language Assistance; Misinformation, Intimidation, and Other Improper Behavior At The Poll. Motivations that compel Hispanic voters to vote are Education, Economy, and Immigration Policies.
KEY BARRIERS TO VOTING FOR HISPANIC VOTERS:
1) MISSING REGISTRATIONS
- According to a report from NALEO Education Fund, the commonly reported barrier in the 2016 presidential elections was missing registrations.
- According to the report, at least 13% of callers with registration problems reported attempting to register at a location required to provide voter registration services to customers under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). Poll workers failed to offer, and in some cases refused to issue, provisional ballots to a number voters who had registered but were not located in poll books. This may be due to poor administration or technical malfunctions.
- A VRA lawsuit filed in 2016 argues that Georgia’s policy of requiring a perfect match between voter registration applications and the state Department of Driver Services or federal Social Security Administration records disproportionately results in the rejection of Black and Hispanic registration applications.
- Navigating the election process is a challenge to many Hispanic electorates who are relatively inexperienced with the voting process.
2) MISSING AND UNSOLICITED MAIL BALLOTS
- It is common for voters to report that they did not receive requested mail ballots or they received unsolicited mail ballots. This may be due to their relative mobility.
3) BROKEN EQUIPMENT, LONG LINES, AND WEBSITE CRASHES
- There is a consensus among many policymakers and election officials that most of the machines used for conducting elections are outdated.
- There were reports of crashing of websites that play a critical role in ensuring that elections run smoothly.
- Due to relative inexperience with voting, Hispanic voters are dependent upon accessible information on voting. Inadequate signage and failure to post an easy polling place locator tool online can and do prevent
- Inadequately resourced polling places with long queues impair voters, including Hispanic, according to analyses by the Brennan Center for Justice and academics such as MIT Professor Charles Stewart III and Harvard Professor Stephen Ansolabehere.
4) INADEQUATE LANGUAGE ASSISTANCE
- Lack of access to non-English ballots can be an obstacle to voting for Hispanic voters. If voters can’t understand the ballot, they may not vote.
- Providing foreign-language election materials to Hispanic voters with limited English proficiency is helpful to them. Election materials can include registration or voting notices, instructions and ballots.
5) MISINFORMATION, INTIMIDATION, AND OTHER IMPROPER BEHAVIOR AT THE POLLS
- There were reports of misinformation on social media.
- Some Hispanic voters reported that they had become targets of discriminatory or intimidating behavior perpetrated by officials.
- There are reports of poll workers giving voters wrong information or misapplied rules, including identification requirements.
MOTIVATIONS THAT COMPEL HISPANIC VOTERS TO PARTICIPATE IN NATIONAL ELECTIONS:
- In a Pew poll taken before the 2016 presidential election, most Hispanic respondents ranked education as the most significant campaign issue.
- Perceived as a prerequisite road to America's middle class, education has been a high priority for Hispanic families eager to improve their financial well-being.
- Hispanic view pocketbook issues as paramount. Most Hispanic voters have fresh memories of leaving their home countries to escape financial and sometimes physical insecurity.
- In the 2016 Pew poll, the economy was an important issue for 80% of Hispanic respondents.
3) IMMIGRATION POLICIES
- Immigration is potent and emotional to the Hispanic community. This motivates them to vote.
For us to identify key barriers to voting for Hispanic voters in the US, as well as key motivations that compel Hispanic voters to vote, we focused on credible surveys, news, and media sources. To resolve a comprehensive picture of the topics, we examined reports and surveys done before and after the 2016 national elections. We were unable to find credible data relating to whether the voter barrier and motivation differ between generations/age groups.