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Latino Voter Registration Surges Before Election

Aired 11/2/12 on KPBS News.

About 40 percent of new voters registered in San Diego County since February have been Latino, according registrar statistics.

— The San Diego County Registrar of Voters Office said registration by Latinos has surged in the lead-up to next week’s general election.

Since February, an average of about 12,600 new voters registered each month, according to registrar data. Almost 5,000 of those each month, or about 40 percent, were Latinos.

Considering that Latinos are only about a third of the county’s population and an even smaller percentage of the its eligible voters, the number impresses Carmen Lopez, who manages Latino outreach for the registrar's office.

She said voter drives and the debut of online registration this election season helped those numbers along. Also, U.S.-born children of immigrants are coming of age.

“There are a lot of Latinos that are turning 18 that did register to vote. There are a lot of propositions on education, and that really impacts the Latino population," she said.

Since February more than 40,000 new Latinos have registered in San Diego County, meaning a total of 290,000 Latinos are registered to vote this Tuesday. In the last year, Latino went from being 17 percent of the San Diego County electorate to 18.5 percent.

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