NALEO: Latino Vote to Exceed 12.2 Million in 2012 Elections

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WASHINGTON -- The Latino vote is expected to exceed 12.2 million in the 2012 elections, according to a study released today by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO). The report, presented at NALEO's conference in San Antonio, is a projection based on data from the past four presidential elections.

About 9.7 million Latinos voted in the 2008 election, when President Barack Obama was elected, according to NALEO, compared to 7.6 million Latino voters who went to the polls in 2004.

The group expects 12.2 million Latinos will vote in the 2012 presidential election, which would represent a 25 percent increase from 2008. According to NALEO's projection, Latino voters would account for 8.7 percent of total voters in the country.

Projections indicate that California, Florida and Illinois will see the largest increases compared to 2008.

But NALEO executive director Arturo Vargas warned that Latinos, who are the fastest-growing minority in the country, must become more engaged in the electoral process.

"We need to develop a culture of participation in which we vote every year," Vargas said.

Watch Univision's report from the NALEO conference in San Antonio.