For the third presidential election cycle, the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) has compiled voting numbers for Latino voters in the state, and the 2016 report shows those numbers are outpacing national Latino voting statistics.
GALEO Executive Director Jerry Gonzalez said not only are the registration numbers growing in Georgia, but also the participation level of the Latino electorate is expanding.
"The Latino electorate is now 244,190 voters strong and had a statewide voter participation rate of 53.3%," Gonzalez said. "Nationally, the Latino voter participation rate was only 47%."
Gonzalez said Latinas are more active at the ballot box than their male counterparts.
"Latinas [voted] at historic rates of 73%," Gonzalez said. "In fact, women nationally of all races performed at 60% and Latinas nationally performed at 50%, so certainly Latinas in Georgia made history."
Gonzalez also noted that some of the counties with the strongest Latino voting bases were in North Georgia - Gwinnett County ranked number one on a list of the Top 10 metro counties, while Hall County ranked number five and Forsyth County was number eight on the list.
Gonzalez said GALEO volunteers made a concerted effort to educate and recruit Latino voters in Gainesville/Hall County during the last election cycle.
"Certainly, Hall County is one of the areas in which we have been investing a lot of time, energy and resources, making sure that we can improve the Latino electorate's performance there," said Gonzalez. "In the 2012 election, for example, Latinos turned out to vote in Hall County at a 37% voter turnout rate and this past election, we surpassed the national Latino voter participation rate with a 48.4% Latino voter turnout."
Gonzalez said they also were impressed with Gainesville city numbers.
"In Gainesville, we saw a nearly doubling of Latino registered voters within the city limits of Gainesville."
Gonzalez said GALEO was able to work with Hall County elections officials to make sure the county moved forward with dual language ballots. He said his group would continue to push the city of Gainesville to adopt by-district voting rather than at-large voting to ensure the election of Latino and African American candidates.
To see the full 51-page report for 2016, follow this link.