Douglas County voter registration for the Aug. 7 primary election increased 5.3 percent compared with 1986 figures, the county clerk announced today.
Patty Jaimes, county clerk, said 37,679 county residents were registered to vote, compared with 35,775 registered voters in 1986, the last primary held in a non-presidential election year.
Lawrence has 29,854 registered voters, she said, an increase of 5.7 percent from the 1986 total of 28,242. County registered voters living outside of Lawrence totalled 7,825, an increase of 3.9 percent from 7,533 four years ago.
Both major political parties posted increases in registrants from 1986. Republicans numbered 15,028, a gain of 17.1 percent from 12,836. Democrats increased 13.2 percent, going from 8,827 to 9,991.
The number of unaffiliated voters decreased during the past four years. Unaffiliated voters, who may vote in the primary if they declare a party preference at the polls, number 12,644 in Douglas County, a 10.4 percent decrease from 14,112 in 1986.
Jaimes also said there are 16 registered Libertarians in the county. The 1986 numbers did not include any other political parties.
Requests for absentee ballots are slightly ahead of the 1986 pace, Jaimes said. To date, 452 county registered voters have asked for absentee ballots. In 1986, the county totalled 542 requests.
Voters in need of an absentee ballot have until noon Aug. 6, to contact the clerk's office for it. The deadline is extended to noon, Tuesday, Aug. 7, for sick and physically disabled people. All absentee voters must return their ballots by 7 p.m. on Aug. 7.
Jaimes said she was unsure if the pace of absentee voting would continue but added, "We hope we have a higher voter turnout."
The county had a light turnout of 9,032 voters in 1986, or 25.2 percent of the registered voters.
Voter registration will re-open Aug. 8, the day after the primary, and continue through Oct. 21. The general election will be held on Nov. 6.