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A significant number of potential new voters are from battleground states such as Florida, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico.

FLORIDA — New voters could determine the outcome of this year’s elections at all levels of government, according to a report by the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), a national multiethnic, multiracial organization representing 41 of the largest regional immigrant and refugee rights organizations in 37 states. 

This is due to the more than 5 million people who naturalized in the United States since 2014, including 3.1 million who did so after Donald Trump’s 2016 election.

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A Powerful Political Force

“Over the last few years, immigrants and refugees have naturalized, in large part in response to the rise in anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies,” Diego Iñiguez-López, Policy and Campaigns Manager for NPNA told The Americano. “Instead of being afraid or intimidated, they have taken the step of naturalizing and protecting themselves, their families, and communities. Here, like in immigrant and refugee communities, and in our movement, women are leading the way.”

According to the report, almost 70 percent of those who naturalized from 2014 to 2018 is originally from Latin American and Asian and Pacific Island countries, with women accounting for 55.6 percent of newly naturalized citizens. More importantly, a significant number of these potential new voters are from battleground states such as Florida, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico, among others.

“Florida is the state with the second-largest amount of recently naturalized citizens and Arizona is the 14th,” Iñiguez-López says. “There will be an estimated 614,122 newly naturalized citizens who will be eligible voters in 2020 in Florida. This number is larger than the margin of victory for the 2016 presidential election.”

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In fact, the margin of victory in the 2016 presidential election in Florida was 112,911 ballots. This means that new Florida voters can have an especially large impact in the November presidential election. The number of newly naturalized citizens from 2014 to 2018 is also larger than the margins of victory for Senate seats that are up for re-election in 2020 in North Carolina and Virginia. These numbers can also sway the outcome of hotly contested elections in Arizona.

“A strong Latino presence in the voting booth can determine who sits in the White House for the next few years, who controls the Senate, and who will hold the power in states and localities through governorships and legislatures,” adds Iñiguez-López.

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A Push for the Vote

However, naturalized citizens –almost 40% of which are from Latin American countries –vote at rates around ten percent lower than U.S.-born citizens, says Iñiguez-López.

So in order to encourage newly naturalized citizens to register and vote, NPNA is launching the New American Voters campaign to promote voter registration among newly naturalized Americans in key battleground states. The effort will focus on digital and social media platforms, and will also include traditional media and other civic engagement events. 

Latinos and newly naturalized citizens have incredible sway over the outcome of the elections. The only question is whether that impact will be by them not voting or by them voting for the candidates that they feel best to represent them,” said Iñiguez-López.