According to a study by a Latino group released last month, Hispanics could account for 1 million new voters in the presidential election, giving the fast-growing group additional clout in hotly contested states like Arizona and Florida.

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, a nonpartisan group representing about 6,000 Hispanic officials, expects a record 7 million Hispanics to vote in November, or 6.1 percent of the total electorate, according to its voter projections.

In 2000, when Republican George W. Bush won, Latino participation was 5.4 percent, or just about 6 million voters.

The voter projections are based on polling trends in presidential and nonpresidential races since 1992. The Latino group has issued its voter estimate in the last two presidential elections and said its margin of error in those races was 3 percent.

Florida, which Bush carried by 537 votes, will see a 1.9 percentage point rise.

Today WMNF spoke with Maria Cardona, Senior Vice President for the New Democrat Network , based in Washington. The New Democrat Network is one of the so-called

527 groups formed in the wake of Campaign Finance Reform, that is not linked to the Democratic Party, but is no doubt working to get Democratic Candidates elected.

The New Democrat Network is airing ads in both Spanish & English in Florida and other key battleground states.......WMNF asked her how 'persuadable' were Latino voters this year? (roll tape#1 o.q."very well swing the Presidential election")

That's Maria Cardona, of the New Democrat Network....We'll air the 2nd part of our interview tomorrow with her, where will ask her thoughts about how John Kerry has reached out to people of color, and whether bringing New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson on the Ticket will help draw more Latino votes to Kerry in November.

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