Global Politics

Virginia's Latino vote



Virginia has voted for the Republican presidential candidate in every election since 1952, except in 1964. This year may be different. And Virginia's Latino immigrant voters may play a critical role. "The World's" Jason Margolis has the story.

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There are about 149 thousand registered Latino voters in Virginia -- that's only three percent of the voting population, but it's almost double the number from 2004. If Latinos vote -- and the key is IF they vote -- they could have a big impact in that state. Historically, Latinos don't vote in large numbers. In the 2004 presidential election, only 47 percent of registered Hispanic voters cast ballots, compared to 67% of non-Hispanic voters.

Latinos in Northern Virginia may not need much nudging this election. Last summer, Prince William County enacted one of the strictest anti-immigration rules in the nation. The county became a focal point in the national immigration debate, and many Latinos there, both documented and undocumented left the county. The crackdown might have had unintended consequences -- some think it mobilized and energized the Latino population to the political process.

PRI's "The World" is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. "The World" is a co-production of the BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston.

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