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New analysis shows Latino voters already swaying elections involving environmental initiatives

LatinaLista — Latinos care so deeply for the environment that in elections where environmental initiatives were on the ballot, Latino voters were the ones who propelled them into law, according to a new study by Latino Decisions and the nonprofit Hispanic Access Foundation.

The study, Sense of Community: Latino majorities Poll and Vote to Reduce Pollution, Protect Water & Conserve Public Lands, found that the Latino electorate overwhelmingly votes to pass initiatives that improve the environment.

The study discovered that:

In California: In 2014, voters passed California Proposition 1, a $7.1 billion water bond, which included $1.5 billion for land conservation. Sixty-seven percent of voters supported this measure while only 33 percent voted in opposition. With 25 percent of the voting bloc identifying as Latino, pollsters estimate that the passage of Proposition 1 would have been unlikely without Latino support.

In Colorado: In Larimer County, home to Colorado State University and Rocky Mountain National Park, voters were asked to approve a 25-year sales tax extension to protect natural areas, open spaces, and rivers. Voters approved the sales tax extension overwhelmingly: 81% voted for the measure while only 19% voted against it. In Colorado, 11% of all voters are Latino.

In Florida: The Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative (Amendment 1) was a state constitutional amendment that was approved by voters with strong margins. According to official voter registration statistics ,19 percent of all voters in Florida are Latino. And in majority-Latino communities, more than seventy-five percent of voters supported the amendment, which provided funding to protect drinking water, acquire, restore, improve and manage wetlands, fish and wildlife habitats as well as recreational lands.

In New Mexico: Voters in Bernalillo County, the most populated county in the state with over 600,000 residents, were asked in the 2014 election to decide whether to approve a 15-year property tax increase for open space and natural areas. According to voter registration statistics, 35 percent of the voting bloc in New Mexico is Latino. In the November 2014 election, 72 percent of voters approved the measure. Support from the Latino community was crucial for electoral success.

“This report provides definitive proof to what we’ve seen across the country – there is a significant, growing Latino movement that is both advocating and voting for greater environmental protections of our parks and public lands — and having a real influence on Election Day outcomes on these issues,” said Maite Arce, president and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation.

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