Well, the numbers are in, and it seems that all the door-knocking and phone-calling may have paid off after all.
A report due to be released tomorrow by the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project shows that more Latinos voted in Dallas County in November than in the last mid-term election. Latinos made up 14 percent of voters at the polls this year, and 36 percent of the Hispanics registered to vote actually did vote, which are believed to be substantial increases over the 2002's midterm election, according to Lydia Camarillo of the SVREP. The report was based on data from Dallas County Elections and exit polls by the William C. Velasquez Institute, a nonprofit that does voting research.
"We're going to be doing some more research," Camarillo says. "We think that what happened in Dallas County is extremely impressive, because we think it's a trend for Texas."
The numbers: Of the 158,126 Latino voters who are registered to vote in Dallas County, 56,406 actually did. Compare that to the total number of registered voters (1,197,921) and actual voters (400,181).
"We were pleasantly surprised," former state Representative Domingo Garcia, now League of United Latin American Citizens civil rights chairman, tells Unfair Park. Predictions of a surge in Latino voter registrations had fallen flat by the October deadline. Hispanics comprised the same percentage of newly registered voters this year as they had in 2005, which was 17 percent, according to Dallas County Elections Director Bruce Sherbet. But the week after the election, the paper version of Unfair Park reported that Hispanic turnout was up 9 percent in early voting, and poll workers had noticed more Latinos casting ballots. It would appear that appearances were not deceiving. --Megan Feldman