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Politics

Non-Whites Overtaking Whites Among Harris County Registered Voters

County data show that Latino voter registration is increasing, while older white voters are dying off

Michael Hagerty | Houston Public Media
The turnout of Harris County Latino voters in the March 6 primary election more than doubled compared to their participation in the previous primary held on a mid-term year –in 2014— and experts attribute the increase to what they categorize as a national political climate particularly polarized by the immigration issue, among other factors.

Harris County has reached a demographic tipping point. The combined total of black, Latino, and Asian registered voters in the county is about to overtake white registered voters. That's if the shift hasn't already taken place.

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Hector de Leon of the Harris County Clerk's Office examined voter registration data for July of this year and compared it to July 2014, just before the last midterm election. "About 50 percent of the registered voters in Harris County are now non-white," de Leon said.

The data show that more Latino residents are registering to vote, while older white voters are dying off. Rice University political scientist Bob Stein said Hispanic voters are a not a uniform bloc, but, "probably anywhere between 60 to 80 percent of an Hispanic-surnamed electorate is going to be voting disproportionately Democratic.

Stein said that has ramifications for Harris County going forward, but it also helps explain why Democratic candidates swept the county in 2016.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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