In 10 of the biggest states in the country, the number of eligible but unregistered Hispanic voters is far greater than Barack Obama’s margin of the margin over John McCain in 2008—indicating just how much potential there is in the Hispanic community to influence the election and why Republicans in many states have been trying so desperately to make it harder for Americans to register and vote.
According to a report by the Center for American Progress, in the states of California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, New Mexico, and Nevada, the number of potential voters is greater than the margin of victory, while in New York and Virginia, the number is close to the margin. Those 10 states represent 211 electoral votes, a huge chunk of the 270 needed to win the presidential election.
In addition to these millions of unregistered Hispanic voters, there are an addition 8.1 million legal permanent residents, or green card holders, who are eligible to become citizens and vote in the fall election—but they would have needed to apply for citizenship last year because the cumbersome process can take 10-12 months.
These numbers demonstrate just how untapped the Hispanic population is and how much is at stake in wooing those voters. With Obama holding a margin over Romney of greater than 30 percent according to most polls, the president is the one with the most to gain by pursuing these voters. But Republicans in state legislatures across the nation have been busy passing laws to make it harder for people to vote in the upcoming election and also to make it harder for independent groups to register new voters. It’s easy to see why.