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With just 28 days left before Nov. 6, election officials are enthusiastic about a steady increase in voter registration numbers for Election Day 2012
Shelby County Clerk Sue Carole Perry said on Tuesday, the last day to register to vote, that she would not have an up-to-date total for registered voters for at least a week, but the latest figures tallied Aug. 23 show that both Democratic and Republican numbers are up.
“Our books close today, and once they close, sometime before the election, we’ll get a printout with our statistical report,” she said.
Overall, Shelby County’s total number of registered voters has climbed to 27,776, an increase of nearly 2,000 voters (or 7-plus percent) from 2010. That includes 1,999 registered as “other.”
And indicative of the increase, Perry said that the last day for voter registration has been busy, with a flurry of last-minute registrations.
“We’ve had a lot of people coming in, bringing cards,” she said. “We also got a bunch from Whitney M. Young, because they are students; they are away from home. And since they’re in school, they have the choice of registering to vote at home and voting absentee, or they can register and vote at school.”
Perry said that her office has mailed out 150 absentee ballots to college students as well as three or four people in other countries.
“We’ve had one-hundred and fifty-three people vote [absentee] on the machine,” she said.
Perry said those numbers are about the same as they were in the 2008 General Election.
Both parties growing
Based on the Aug. 23 count, the Democratic Party is still dominant in Shelby County, with 14,678 to the Republican Party’s 11,099 registered voters, but the Republican Party is growing faster however, having surpassed 10,000 registered voters for the first time in 2010.
Republican registrants have increased by more than 7 percent since last November.
But Democratic numbers also have been increasing recently after a dropoff from the peak of 15,121 in 2009. That number now stands at 14,678.
And that mirrors the statewide trend, state election officials say.
Lynn Zellen, director of communications for the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Office, said that statewide, registration numbers are up “in all aspects,” with just more than 3 million registered voters, compared to 2,980,009 registered to vote in the primary election this past spring.
“We will have our final totals shortly, within a week or so, and we’ll have reports from each of the counties, and we’ll have the actual numbers going into the election,” she said.
Voters fired up
With a good turnout already predicted, both political party chairs in Shelby County say most voters they have talked to are eager to get out and exercise their constitutional right to vote in November.
“I’m really excited about our numbers growing; I think it’s great,” said Shelby County Republican Party Chair Jennifer Decker, who is also field representative for U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.
“I think people are really anxious to vote for [Mitt] Romney this year, much more anxious to vote than in the last presidential election,” she said. “They have said they just can’t wait for that day.”
Decker said she thinks the Republican Party’s growth in Shelby County is because of people wanting to see more conservatism in government.
“We been spending a lot of time around the community, going to events around the county, and talking to people, and telling what the party stands for,” she said.
Tony Carriss, Democratic magistrate in District 6 in the Mount Eden area, said he thinks that on Election Day, people will realize that voting for the Democratic Party would be the best way to ensure that key programs stay in place.
“The Democrats are leading the fight to maintain Social Security and Medicare for seniors, and I think that’s the biggest issue there is,” he said. “The Democrats want to make sure we maintain those systems to take care of our seniors, as well as disabled children, who need additional help.”
Shelby County Democratic Party Chair Fielding Ballard III said he thinks people should, and are, keeping in mind the principals of the Democratic Party.
“It’s all about the rights of the middle class, the working class, the average citizen,” he said. “We want to make sure that everybody has the same opportunities as the affluent. I’ve said this before, but I want to emphasize it again, the Democratic Party is the party for the people and of the people. It’s what has made this country great.”
General Election 2012
Primary Election 2012