The U.S. Census Department released a set of tables today showing voter registration and voter turnout rates in 2008. What the figures show is that Hispanic citizens increased voter turnout by 2 million voters, and Black citizens increased voter turnout by 2 million voters, in comparison with 2006, while voter turnout for non-Hispanic white voters remained the same. In spite of these gains Hispanics and Asians have a long way to go to catch up to black and other non-Hispanic citizen groups.
For the population as a whole, the Census Department reports that out of the total citizen population over 18, nearly two out of three (63.6%) voted.
Among non-Hispanic white citizens over 18, fully 66.1% voted.
Among Hispanic citizens over 18, only 49.9% voted.
Among Black citizens over 18, fully 64.7% voted.
Among Asian citizens over 18, only 47.6% voted.
Out of these groups--Hispanics, non-Hispanic whites, blacks, and Asians--clearly the Asians are participating the least, followed by Hispanics. If Hispanic citizens had voted in 2008 at the same rate as the national average (63.6%) they would have added 2.5 million more votes to the total of 131.1 million votes, about 2 percent, clearly enough to influence a close national election.
If we take as our starting point those citizens who have actually registered to vote (not just those eligible to register by age), and ask what proportion of these actually voted, the results are as follows:
For the nation as a whole, 89.6% of registered voters actually voted in 2008
Among non-Hispanic whites, 90% of registered voters actually voted in 2008.
Among Hispanics, 84% of registered voters actually voted in 2008
Among Blacks, fully 93% of registered voters actually voted.
Among Asians, 86% of registered voters actually voted.
If Hispanics already registered to vote had voted at the same rate as the rest of the country (89.6%), this would have added 650,000 more votes to the national totals. Clearly, voter registration is where the major problem lies in accounting for the deficit in voting among Hispanics.