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Old October 2nd, 2008, 04:41 AM   #1
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On the Ground: "Off the hook"

"This will be the largest election in the history of voting, not just for Wake County, but North Carolina and the United States." -- Gary Sims, deputy director of the Wake County Board of Elections
Across the country, one of the largest voter registration efforts in the history of American politics is coming to an end. In many states, voter registration deadlines are just a few days away, but there is no question now that the work that volunteers and grassroots supporters have put in over the last six months is making a difference:
From the Indianapolis Star:
Charlene Guzman was old enough to vote in the last presidential election. But this is the first one that will bring her to the polls.
Guzman, 24, Indianapolis, was one of more than 1,500 people who took part in a voter registration drive at Lafayette Square Mall on Tuesday and is part of a surge in new voters in Indiana this year.
..."There have been more (voter registration) efforts this year than I've ever seen," said Amos Brown, director of research for Radio One, which owns the four Indianapolis stations hosting the registration drive as part of a national effort. "And I've been here going on 35 years."
And from the Star Press in Indiana:
Interest in the Nov. 4 general election is soaring as the deadline to register to vote in Indiana draws nearer, according to election officials.
Hoosiers who are not already registered to vote have until Monday to do so.
Meanwhile, Delaware County officials are reporting a sharp increase in new voters looking to cast ballots.
"Our phones are ringing off the hook," said Margie Landers, Democratic board member in the Delaware County voter registration office, and also the party's county chairman.
In Pennsylvania, the Morning Call reports that:
Democrats have added nearly 500,000 voters since last November, boosting their total to 4.3 million, compared with the 3.2 million registered Republicans as of Sept. 22.
Adding to the deadline's urgency is the emphasis Obama's campaign has placed on registering new voters over the past several weeks, using its organizational edge to target the 1 million eligible Pennsylvanians of voting age.
The campaign is on pace to add 100,000 voters to the Democratic rolls since the end of July, more than twice as many as Republicans have logged.
In Montana, the Great Falls Tribune reports:
Election officials say there are more than 36,000 newly registered voters on the rolls this year, primarily due to Democratic efforts.
"We're getting about 100 a day from the Obama campaign," said Barb Cox, Yellowstone County's election clerk. "We might get 50 to 100 a week from the Republican Party."
The North Carolina News & Observer reports that "new registrations appear to be one reason Obama has moved into a virtual tie with McCain in recent statewide polls."
Spurred by heavy registration in big urban counties -- particularly among young voters and black people -- North Carolina's voter rolls have swelled by more than 600,000 this year to a record 6 million.
"Voter registration has eclipsed all records, no doubt about it," said state elections director Gary Bartlett.
The apparent beneficiaries: Democrats. Analysts say the changes have helped Democrat Barack Obama make the state an unexpected presidential battleground.
"Clearly, the advantage goes to Obama," said Ferrel Guillory, director of the Program on Public Life at UNC-Chapel Hill.
No matter where you live, if you have three minutes to spare, you can check your registration status, register to vote, request an absentee ballot, and find your early voting site or polling location at VoteForChange.com.
Even if you are registered, you likely know someone who isn't.
If you have friends or family who support Barack but might not be registered to vote, you can use our online form to let them know about VoteForChange.com. A simple message from you could be the difference between them voting and them staying at home on November 4th.
And that could be the difference in this election.

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