FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, October 04, 2004

Surge in New Voter Registrations

As deadlines hit for new voter registrations in many states, election officials are reporting a surge in registrations, according to a story in the New York Times. Some of the biggest surges are being reported in so-called "swing states" such as Pennsylvania and Ohio.

If these new voters actually turn out to vote on November 2 (and history suggests they might not), they could have a huge impact on the presidential race. Many of these new voters are from urban and lower-income communities... which ought to be good news for the Democrats. However, Republicans report successful voter registration drives of their own, which presumably target GOP-friendly demographics.

Just more evidence that this election is shaping up to be a turning point in American politics. We stand to turn the tide against low voter turnout because a) everyone saw what a squeaker the 2000 election was, and how every single vote really did count, and b) the issues are much more relevant to the average voter this time. With the debates in full swing, we're (hopefully) through talking about swift boats and National Guard duties that occurred 30 years ago, and are focusing on the present. Terrorism and the situation in Iraq is on everybody's mind, and any parent of a teenage boy is surely concerned about the possibility of a reinstated draft. Young people, especially, appear to be mobilizing and focusing on this election in a new and more thoughtful way.

To find the deadline for voter registration in your state, visit this page on the League of Women Voters website. Many states allow registration at late as Election Day, though the deadlines have already passed in others.