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Updated Jun 22, 2012 - 6:57 am

Latino voters increase after Obama's immigration announcement

PHOENIX -- Latino voter registration has spiked after the president's decision to allow almost 1 million young illegal immigrants to stay in the United States.

Petra Falcon with Project Arizona said the group has been going door to door to sign up Latino voters. Right now they're registering about 100 voters everyday.

Most observers believe the Latino vote will be critical for the president to take Arizona in November, in what is becoming more of a battleground state by the day.

"Yes, we've heard that Romney would veto a DREAM Act, so when people go to the polls, they're going to be thinking, 'is this person for what I believe in' or something else," said Falcon. "That's going to matter this year, what [the candidates] represent and what they're telling the community."

Conservative political strategist Stan Barnes with Copperstate Consulting is among those who believe the president's decision was a not-so-veiled pandering to the Latino community to lure voters into his camp.

"They timed it for a reason," he said. "They wanted to be ahead of whatever the Supreme Court decides on Senate Bill 1070. Politicians will pander to key groups and that is what this announcement was all about."

Barnes said, at one point he believed Arizona was in play as a battleground state, but no longer believes that and huge Latino voter turnout in November won't be enough to bring the president victory in Arizona.

"That calculation is wrong and they're going to have to spend money in places like Wisconsin where they didn't think they would have to spend money," he said. "Arizona will probably fall out of their priority."

And the theory that huge Latino voter turnout will lead to victory discounts one important fact, according to Barnes.

"Every voter, regardless of their ethnicity, makes individual decisions," he said. "Much to the disappointment of Democratic operatives. The Hispanic vote refuses to be labeled as pro-Democratic no matter whatever is thrown at them."

Falcon said Latino voter registration also jumped by 13,000 people in the first four months after Gov. Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1070.

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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