Are Arizona’s Latino Voters Apathetic?

Organizers in the states say that voters are more galvanized than ever before.

By Jamilah King Oct 13, 2010

Latino voters in Arizona are fighting back against claims that they’re apathetic. A [poll]( released last week from the Pew Hispanic Center found that only 51 percent of registered Latino voters said they would absolutely go to the polls this November. The [New York Times]( reported that the lack of urgency was due to the country’s hostile anti-immigrant, which had allegedly alienated many Latino voters. But the [Public News Service]( reports that a new Rocky Mountain Poll shows that in Arizona, what’s being called "Ground Zero" for the nation’s immigration debate, the number of likely voters is much higher. "At least 73 percent of Latinos – of registered voters, Hispanics in Arizona – are strongly planning to vote this November," organizer Tania Marquez told the [Public News Service.]( Marquez works with the One Arizona coalition and also noted that over 80 percent of voters she’s contacted are being driven to the polls by the state’s controversial law SB 1070, which sought to effectively legalize racial profiling. Other on-the-ground organizers echo Marquez’s sentiment. Francisco Heredia, who’s the Arizona director of Mi Familia Vota said that the One Arizona coalition was able to register 23,000 new Latino voters in a four month period. Last week in the [Washington Post]( Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota, compared Arizona’s SB 1070 with California’s failed efforts to institute Proposition 187 in 1994. California’s proposition would have barred undocumented immigrants from most of the state’s public services, but was later ruled unconstitutional in federal court. According to Monterroso, it was the fight against that proposition that galvanized Latino voters in California. "Today there is no elected official in California that does not have to have Latino support," Monterroso told the [Post]( "In Arizona, we are finding Latinos are ready to vote. In the mind of our community it is a real threat. We are ready to ensure we are respected."