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The Skewed Electorate | The Nation

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The Notion

Unfiltered takes on politics, ideas and culture from Nation editors and contributors.

The Skewed Electorate

A new report from a California think tank confirms what many have long suspected: if Latinos, the poor, and the uneducated voted in proportionate numbers the state's political landscape would be vastly different.

Even as the Golden State's population continues to diversify, the actual electorate remains skewed toward older, wealthier and better-educated Whites. "If the trends in voting continue," says Mark Baldassare of the Public Policy Institute, "we face the prospect of an electorate making policy choices that neglect the realities and problems facing large segments of California society."

California is the only state in which no ethnic or racial group constitutes the majority, with whites representing 46 percent of the population and Latinos 32 percent. Yet, whites make up 70 percent of the electorate, and Latinos only 16 percent.

In California's November balloting, for example, only 8 million people are expected to vote out of 22.6 million adults who are eligible to vote and 27.7 million adults overall. And only 4 million, or 15 percent of the population, will represent the majority that decides all the issues.

At some point in history, somebody is going to have to take seriously the notion of a new voter registration drive. Until then, expect more of the status quo.

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