COMMENTARY: Engaging Georgia’s Latino voters

Samuel Aguilar (Credit: Samuel Aguilar)

Dec 20, 2022

The “sleeping giant” that is our country’s Latino vote is ready to start the morning shift in Georgia. 

With over 300,000 registered Latino voters, our community stands out with 88% participation in the last two elections and a large part of that engagement comes from voters under the age of 30. 

The 1.1 million Latinos in Georgia make up 10% of the population and 4% of the electorate. This group easily covers the tight margins by which President Biden and Democratic senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock have won the Peach State. While voters and civic engagement groups have already realized this, it remains to be seen if campaigns and advocacy efforts will truly engage with this voting bloc revolutionizing battleground politics.

As engaged as the Latino electorate is, there are no signs that point to it being a solid voting bloc for either party. While Georgia’s Latino voters were overwhelmingly anti-Trump in 2016 and 2020, polls show that no statewide candidate has garnered over 50% of the Latino vote since, leaving the door wide open to attract this independent voting bloc. 

A recent UnidosUS poll found that 59% of Georgia’s Latino voters believe the country is “going down the wrong track” while simultaneously reporting little to no outreach from either political party. This means there is room for bold political leadership and legislative proposals that engage our communities. 

When it comes to key issues, many would be surprised by data that shows immigration falling behind inflation, crime, jobs, abortion and health care. This polling adds credibility to the notion that we are as Georgian as we are Latino and the issues important to us align with the broader electorate. We are a values driven electorate with our families and local communities being top of mind for political decision-making. 

As Georgia's Latino vote continues to grow in influence, candidates and campaigns have a great opportunity to engage directly with this electorate with its own unique set of values and cultural nuance. 

Political outreach can no longer be copy and pasted from other regions, nor can we be included in general minority outreach. The Latino voter is not a monolith, our ideologies are as diverse as our cultures and the countries we represent. 

There is tremendous opportunity to learn from and engage Georgia’s Latino electorate, we deserve well-researched outreach and messaging that speaks to “la cultura.”  

Samuel Aguilar is the chief executive and founder of A|R Strategies, a bilingual and bicultural public relations firm with expertise in engaging Georgia’s dynamic Latino and Immigrant communities. Aguilar has been recognized as one of Georgia’s “50 Most Influential Latinos” by the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He has led campaigns for the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) and the political advocacy group, where he built bipartisan coalitions of elected officials — supported by business, advocacy and media leaders — to shift the culture on policies that impact Latino and immigrant communities. He wrote this for State Affairs Georgia.

Join the conversation. Reach out to Samuel Aguilar at Twitter @samaguilarATL or email [email protected] 

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