Sunday, October 10, 2004

It Happens Every Four Years

At least a few pro-Bush bloggers (here and here) are worried because of reports like this:
Surge in voter registration setting records

By Donald Lambro

A surge in voter registration that is setting records in the battleground states has led election forecasters to predict the largest increase in turnout in more than a decade.

With a little more than three weeks left before Election Day, election officials nationwide report that new voter registrations are still pouring in, boosting the number of registered voters in many states to levels never seen before.

"We have seen a real rush to become registered by eligible voters all over the country," said Meredith Imwalle, spokeswoman for the National Association of Secretaries of State, the officials who tabulate and oversee elections and voter registration.

Election officials say that the sharp rise in registration is to a large degree the result of a much more intensive grass-roots canvassing campaign by the Republican and Democratic parties and the campaigns of the two presidential candidates, President Bush and Sen. John Kerry.

"They have been very aggressive, the most aggressive that I've seen in my career," said Curtis Gans, who runs the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate.

The same political intensity that is driving voter registration to new highs likely will boost voter turnout as well, the analysts said.

"I don't think there has been a more emotionally intense an election since 1968. Turnout will be up," Mr. Gans said....

Republican National Committee (RNC) officials said they have signed up more than 3 million new Republican voters. Democratic National Committee (DNC) officials said they have exceeded that number, but refused to give any statistics Friday.

"The Democrats have not put out a number. We saw registration as part of our election strategy. It's an area where the Republicans are playing catch-up," DNC spokesman Tony Welch said. "They set their goals to create headlines. We're looking for voters, and by all accounts our registration is far outpacing theirs."...
It's all hype and PR. Of course, voter registrations are spiking now; the election is coming and registration deadlines are looming. Of course registrations are at an all-time high; the U.S. is more populous than ever. Of course the Democrats are claiming that the new registrations help them; we hear that every four years because Democrats seem to think that new voters prefer Democrats, though there's little evidence for that in the results of presidential elections in recent decades. In fact, the "emotionally intense" 1968 election -- when new, draft-age voters presumably favored anti-war Humphrey over tricky Dick and George the segregationist -- resulted in a trouncing of Humphrey, the only liberal in the field.