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Latino voter eligibility at all-time high but turnout still expected to be low

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The number of eligible Latino voters has reached a historic high, with almost 24 million able to participate in November’s presidential election, an increase of 4 million over the previous ballot in 2008.

The new figures, released by the Pew Hispanic Center, underline the seismic demographic shift that is transforming the electoral landscape of the US. Over the past 20 years the number of Latinos eligible to vote has grown steadily and steeply, from 8.3 million in 1992 to 14.5 million in 2002 and 23.7 million in 2012 – some 11% of the current electorate.

That is in turn a reflection of the growing numeric presence of Hispanics, who now stand as America’s largest minority. Last year Latinos accounted for almost 17% of the population – some 52 million people.

But Pew’s research also underscores the unfulfilled nature of Latino political power. In 2008, only half those entitled to vote actually cast their ballots – a participation rate well beneath that of African Americans (65%) and whites (66%).

The turnout of Hispanics in November could be even lower, as Census Bureau data suggests that the number of Latinos who are registered to vote actually declined by 600,000 between 2008 and 2010. Pew suggests the slump could be explained by a tailing off of political interest following the exceptional enthusiasm engendered by Obama’s first run for the White House four years ago.

It could also have something to do with the economic downturn. Many Hispanic families have been forced to move home because of foreclosures since the collapse of 2008, which in turn would have caused many of them to lose their electoral registration.

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Looked another way, though, and the statistics spell enormous potential rewards for any politician or political party who manages to release the Latino genie from the bottle. If Hispanic Americans can be persuaded that it is worth their while to turn up on election day, then there is room for a massive mobilisation of new voters.

That is particularly the case in three vital swing states – Florida, which has more than 2 million eligible Hispanic voters, or 16% of the total; Colorado, with almost 500,000 (14%); and Nevada with 270,000 (15%). President Obama has been actively courting the Hispanic vote this year, with the introduction of a procedural change that allows young undocumented Latinos to apply for a two-year postponement of the threat of deportation.

On the other hand, there is a further weakening of Hispanic political power because families are concentrated in states that are not significant battlegrounds this election cycle. More than half of all potential Latino voters live in three states that are not in play this November – firmly Democratic California and New York, and firmly Republican Texas.

© Guardian News and Media 2012

[Latino family via Shutterstock]

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2012

Michael Cohen ordered back to Congress on March 6

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President Donald Trump's so-called "fixer" is being asked to return to Congress for more questioning on March 6.

Outside of the closed-door committee hearing Thursday, Cohen said that the House Intelligence Committee is seeking further information, according to Washington Examiner writer Byron York.

Michael Cohen finished closed-door testimony before House Intel Committee, says he's coming back for another session March 6. Again: No reason for secrecy. Transcripts should be released ASAP.

— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 28, 2019

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2012

Here are 10 women who wouldn’t be silenced in 2018

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It's been 26 years since the so-called "Year of the Woman," when a record number of women were elected to Congress in 1992. Four senators and 24 representatives were sent to Capitol Hill, following contentious Supreme Court hearings for then-nominee Clarence Thomas, who was accused by Anita Hill of sexual harassment.

On several levels, the themes of 1992 have made repeat, and amplified, appearances this year. The #MeToo movement became fully realized with women reclaiming and reframing their stories, as President Donald Trump, himself accused many times of sexual predator behavior settled further into the White House. Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh, also accused of sexual assault, to the Supreme Court, and while Kavanaugh would go on to attain a seat on the highest court in the land, serial sexual predator and former beloved comedian Bill Cosby was sent to prison for the drugging and rape of Andrea Constand, only one of dozens of women who have spoken out against Cosby with credible accusations of assault.

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2012

US ‘model soldier’ gets 25 years in prison for Islamic State support

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A U.S. Army sergeant described by former colleagues as a one-time “model soldier” was sentenced to 25 years in prison at a federal court in Hawaii on Tuesday after pleading guilty to providing material support to the Islamic State militant group, a local news outlet reported.

Ikaika Erik Kang, 35, agreed to a plea deal in August on four counts of breaking antiterrorism laws in which he accepted a proposed 25-year sentence.

Judge Susan Oki Mollway accepted the terms of the plea deal at Tuesday morning’s hearing, Hawaii’s KHON2 news channel reported. Kang told the court he knew what he did was wrong, KHON2 reported.

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