County leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties express a shared pride about the increases in voter registration that their parties have experienced in the last four years.
"It's indicative of the qualified candidates we have," said Louise Silber, chairman of county Democrats. "I think we always have been able to offer voters qualified candidates in races."
Her counterpart, county Republican chairman Chris Miller, echoed the same feelings.
"We have a good group of candidates," he said. "Our fine slate helps with voter registration."
Both major political parties posted gains in registrants from 1986, and when registration closed for this fall's election, the county had a record showing with 40,766 people register to vote, said Douglas County Clerk Patty Jaimes.
DEMOCRATS had the largest gain, 22.5 percent, from 9,288 to 11,380 registered voters. Republicans continue their lead in registered voters in the county with 16,746, a gain of 21.9 percent from their 1986 total of 13,738.
The number of unaffiliated voters decreased 15.8 percent since 1986, from 14,975 to 12,616. And since the August primary, the number of registered Libertarians increased 50 percent from 16 to 24. The 1986 numbers did not include any other political parties.
Republicans continue to lead in total registration percentage, with 41.1 percent. Despite the decrease, unaffiliated voters remained second in the county with 31 percent. Democrats account for 27.9 percent of the county electorate, and the Libertarians comprise less than 1 percent.
THE TOTAL registration of 40,766 is a gain of 7.2 percent compared with the 38,001 voters registered in 1986, the time of the last gubernatorial election. This year's total also surpassed the 40,574 registered voters in the 1988 presidential election.
The preliminary figures also represented a gain of 8.2 percent in registration since the August primary election, in which 37,679 people were registered.
Lawrence has 32,409 registered voters, Mrs. Jaimes said, or an increase of 7.1 percent from the 1986 total of 30,250. County registered voters living outside Lawrence totaled 8,357, an increase of 7.8 percent from 7,751 four years ago.
Mrs. Jaimes said that she expected this year's county turnout to exceed the 61.6 percent recorded in 1986 because of the interest in the local bond issues and the various county and state races.