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The Latino vote in this year's election will be huge

The 2012 US Presidential election is quickly approaching. As the campaign intensifies, the two nominees will be forced to address the needs of the diverse constituencies within the United States. Among the most critical demographic groups lies the Hispanic population. The influx of Hispanic people into the US has increased tremendously in the past decade; according to the US Census, there were 50.5 million Hispanics in the country, accounting for 16% of the total population. States that are considered most important in the electoral voting system-California, Texas, New York, and Florida, the largest states by population-all contain a heavy percentage of Hispanics. The Hispanic vote in each of these states will be paramount in the upcoming election.

In addition to coming out to the ballots, Latinos must first register. As Janell Ross reports in the Huffington Post, there are currently 12.1 million unregistered-but potentially eligible-Latino voters in the ten battleground states alone. Among these battleground states is Arizona, a state notorious for its immigration reform. Obviously, the Latino voice must be heard in states like Arizona, so their participation must be encouraged through registration. In the 2008 election, John McCain won the state with a margin of only 195,404 votes, whereas 405,300 Latino US citizens did not even have the credentials to vote. Had they been able to vote, the outcome would likely have been markedly different.

There are a number of opportunities for Latinos to register to vote here in Louisiana. The fraternity Phi Iota Alpha in Baton Rouge, and LatiNOLA are two local entities that stand out. The former has successfully attempted to impac tthe community through voting drives, educational forums, and cultural events in both Baton Rouge and New Orleans. This year, in fact, Phi Iota Alpha is celebrating its 80th Anniversary of serving the Latino network worldwide, and will have their annual convention held in New Orleans. Similarly, LatiNOLA executes a number of community service events and exists as a liaison between the community and its organizations.

I highly encourage members of the Latin-American community to make use of these resources and register to vote.

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Phi Iota Alpha

by Michael Oro, Contributor 

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