Archive for Tuesday, May 6, 2008

3.5M new voters register

May 6, 2008

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How to register

In Douglas County, residents have several options to register to vote. For a complete list of registration sites and a registration form to fill out, visit Douglas County Elections. Also online, people can check to see whether they're currently registered and what their party affiliation is.

In addition to registering online, Keith Campbell, deputy county clerk, said the other most popular sites are the county courthouse, 1100 Mass., and the driver's license bureau, 1035 N. Third St., Suite 122.

The deadline to register for the Aug. 5 primary election is July 21; the deadline for the Nov. 4 general election is Oct. 20.

Campbell encourages residents to update their voter registration if they move.

— Voter excitement, always up before a presidential election, is pushing registration through the roof so far this year - with more than 3.5 million people rushing to join in the historic balloting, according to an Associated Press survey that offers the first national snapshot.

Figures are up for blacks, women and young people. Rural and city. South and North.

Overall, the AP found that nearly one in 65 adult Americans signed up to vote in just the first three months of the year. And in the 21 states that were able to provide comparable data, new registrations have soared about 64 percent from the same three months in the 2004 campaign.

Voters are flocking to the most open election in half a century, inspired to support the first female president, the first black or the oldest ever elected.

Also, the bruising Democratic race has lasted longer than anyone expected, creating a burst of interest in states typically ignored in an election year.

Some Democratic Party leaders bemoan the long battle, with two strong candidates continuing to undercut each other. But there are clear signs that the registration boom is favoring their party, at least for now.

"This could change the face of American politics for decades to come," said Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, predicting permanent gains for her party. Republicans, concerned at least somewhat for 2008, say these surges come and go over the longer term.

While detailed data are available from only a handful of states, registration seems to be up particularly strongly for blacks and women.

New voter registrations favored Democrats in North Carolina, which holds its primary today. In the first three months of the year, the number of new Democratic registrants nearly tripled - to 74,590 - from those during the same period of 2004. New Republican registrations were up, too, but they only doubled.

The overall figures on new registrations were compiled by the AP in a survey of election officials nationwide.

In the 21 states that were able to provide comparable figures from the first three months of 2004, only Iowa showed a decline. That state held its first-in-the-nation caucuses on Jan. 3.

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