Voter Turnout May Go Up Thanks To Supreme Court Rulings

By Griselda Nevárez, Voxxi

Voter turnout may increase significantly thanks to a pair of Supreme Court rulings this week that awakened Latinos and outraged Republicans, political analysts predict.

Hispanics, who are angry about the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday to uphold the “papers-please” provision of Arizona’s immigration law, are mobilizing in support of President Barack Obama. At the same time, Republicans, who oppose the justices’ ruling to uphold key parts of the Affordable Care Act, have vowed to prevent Obama from getting reelected.

“All of that put together seems to me like it could lead us to a higher voter turnout election,” said political analyst Michael O’Neil.

Historically, angry voters tend to turn out at the polls en masse. In the past, both Latinos and Republicans have proven that they can create enough force to shift the election in their favor.

Latinos did it in 2008 when they helped elect Obama by voting in sizable margins in all states with large Latino populations. Republicans did it in the 2010 midterm elections when they turned out to vote and picked up a net total of 63 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. That gave the GOP control of the chamber, which they had lost to the Democratic Party in the 2006 midterm elections.

Policy policy consultant Arnoldo Torres said that as a result of the two Supreme Court decisions, he expects “the right-wing is going to be very aggressive in turning people out to vote. Meanwhile, the Obama team is going to pull out all the stops to get angry Hispanics to come out to vote.”

Recent actions by Latinos and Republicans prove Torres might be right.

Motivated by Arizona’s immigration law and Obama’s recent announcement to stop deporting young undocumented immigrants who have no criminal backgrounds, Latinos have already begun mobilizing to strengthen the Latino vote. One organization, Voto Latino, has a goal of getting 12 million Latinos to vote this year, that’s an increase of 2.3 million voters over 2008. The group also wants to raise Latino voter registration to 15 million voters, an increase of 3.3 million compared to 2008.

At the same time, Republicans are saying the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act has provided enough fuel to mobilize their followers and prevent Obama from getting reelected. Before the ruling, the GOP had already been upset with how Obama has handled a number of issues, including the economy and illegal immigration. Political analysts say that could add to the frustration over the healthcare reform and could motivate Republicans even more to boot out Obama.

But while the GOP sees the Supreme Court’s decision on the healthcare law as a way to mobilize voters against the president, Democrats are seeing it as a victory that could help Obama gain votes.

O’Neil said that without a doubt, the justices’ ruling “is a big win for the president” and it could change people’s minds about how they view Obama and his healthcare law. Polls show half of Americans oppose the Affordable Care Act and the way the president has handled healthcare.

“There are always some people who get swayed by action,” O’Neil said. “Having the Supreme Court say that this is legitimate might uptick the percentage of people who support him and his healthcare plan.”

Meanwhile, Steven Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, said having the Supreme Court uphold SB 1070′s key provision “slightly helps Romney because it reminds the public, which generally supports the bill, that Obama has opposed it and has asked the Department of Justice to challenge it.”

Though history shows angry Republicans have had a larger impact on the elections than angry Latinos, political analysts say that the question of whether Republicans or Latinos will have a bigger impact in the 2012 presidential election is hard to answer.

“Both groups really have a lot at stake here,” Torres said.

This article was first published in Voxxi.

Griselda Nevárez is a reporter with Hispanic Link News Service in Washington D.C.

[Photo by creactions ]

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