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March 17, 2016 

By Marivel Resendiz 

Hispanic millennials and the 2016 presidential elections

Dubbed a unique election year, the 2016 election is including the first real primaries that have a significantly large Hispanic voter population participating in both the Democratic and Republican parties.

In addition, a sizable share of the Hispanic votes may come from millennials who are reaching voting age for the first time, said panelists on March 15 at the HACU 21st Annual National Capitol Forum on Higher Education in Washington, D.C.

Nearly 45 percent of the 27.3 million eligible Hispanic voters are millennials, a higher percentage than the same demographic among Blacks, Asians or Whites.

"That's what makes Latino voters so unique," said Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic Research at the Pew Research Center. "The Latino youth are becoming a big part of the election story."

While, historically, Latino and Hispanic voting participation has remained low, this year, minority votes can mean change, said Erin Hustings, senior policy analyst of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Combined, Latinos and African Americans will account for nearly 12 percent of eligible voters.

"Latinos and African Americans, theoretically, have the power to influence politics in the 2016 election," Hustings said.

According to Voto Latino, the average eligible Latino voter is 27, compared to the 42-year-old average White voter. Maria Urbina, vice president of politics and national campaigns at Voto Latino, said the non-partisan organization has led efforts to encourage millennials to register to vote as their growth increases their potential to influence an election.

"If there is any election to demonstrate our power as young Latino voters, it's now," Urbina said.