Dec 14, 2019

The first-time Latino voters

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Contributor

The 2020 election marks the first time in history that Latinos will be the largest minority ethnic or racial group in the electorate, with 32 million eligible voters.

Why it matters: A surge in Latino voters could help Democrats up and down the ballot. But since 1996, most eligible Latino voters have not voted in presidential elections, according to the Pew Research Center.

  • "The perpetual problem for Democrats in regards to Hispanic voters remains: converting potential votes into actual votes," said Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

By the numbers: There are an estimated 15–18 million Latino people in the U.S. who are not registered to vote. Roughly 4 million turned 18 after the 2016 election.

But Latino voter participation is growing — 27% who voted in the midterms said it was their first time.

  • Almost half of eligible Latino voters were never even contacted by a political party or candidate, yet 79% voted in 2018, said María Teresa Kumar, founding president and CEO of Voto Latino.
  • 69% cast a ballot for a Democrat.

What to watch: Texas — which Democrats are desperate to turn blue — accounts for 25% (2.5 million) of eligible but unregistered young Latino voters, per Kumar. It's one state where first-time Latino voters have the ability to sway 2020 election results.

  • The other side: "There is always the possibility that Republicans will continue to struggle with nonwhite voters, but can make up for that by pulling an even higher share of the white vote," Kondik said, particularly in competitive Midwestern states that are whiter than the national average.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Deep Dive: 2020's new voters will usher in an age of demographic transformation

Data: Census Bureau 2017 Population projections. Note: Data includes non-citizens, who would not be eligible to vote; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

First-time 2020 voters will usher in a wave of demographic transformation — a remaking of the American identity that's projected to crest in the 2040s.

What’s happening: Millions of Generation Z Americans— those born after 1996 —will be able to vote for the first time next year. The 2020 census, redistricting and elections will begin to reveal population changes that will empower new voices and reshuffle the swing-state map and both parties' bases.

How the U.S. falls short on teaching students about civics

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: William C. Shrout/Getty Contributor

While the majority of American high school students receive some education in civics, only 26 states met the standards for a “full curriculum" in civics according to research published Saturday by the Center for American Progress (CAP).

Why it matters: Many recent graduates will be eligible to vote for the first time in 2020 and an education in civics is linked to higher civic participation — including voting.

Go deeperArrowDec 14, 2019

Young people are outnumbered and outvoted by older generations

Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Despite the hype around young Americans' civic activism and record voter turnout in 2018, the voting power of young people is shrinking.

The big picture: On top of young adults being less likely to show up at the polls, the number of people under 25 who are even eligible to vote has fallen, according to a Census data analysis by Brookings Institution's William Frey.

Go deeperArrowDec 14, 2019