As the 2012 election approaches, people of color are poised to make a significant impact on the electoral outcomes of key swing states, including Florida, Nevada, Virginia, and Colorado. As this map illustrates, Latinos, Asian Americans, and other people of color have grown in numbers in these states over the past decade—on the lower end, a 4.5 percent increase in Colorado, and a high of 10.6 percent growth in Nevada. This growth of ethnically and racially diverse communities translates to potential voting power. A full 38.9 percent of Nevada’s eligible voters are of color, while the same is true of 34.5 percent of Florida’s eligible voters, 27.4 percent of eligible voters in Virginia, and 22.4 percent of voters in Colorado.
Legal permanent residents are eligible to become citizens—and eventually eligible to vote—and are present in significant numbers in swing states as well: 80,000 legal permanent residents live in Nevada, 790,000 in Florida, 150,000 in Virginia, and 90,000 in Colorado. The importance of these citizens-in-waiting lies in the fact that their numbers are often greater than the margins of victory in these states.
The role of people of color—including Latinos, Asian Americans, and others—in this election and future elections will shape the political landscape for years to come.