Despite many people’s concerns

about the state of the economy,

Oklahoma did not have a surplus of

voter registrations for November’s

presidential elections.

The Oct. 10 deadline passed and

election commissioners said voter

registration this year was “typical” of

other presidential election years.

“We’re not seeing a massive difference,”

said Glenna Craig, secretary of

elections for Payne County.

Michael Clingman, secretary of the

State Election Board, said numbers

this year were almost identical to figures

from 2004. More than 2,152,000

voters are registered in Oklahoma so

far, and nearly 50,000 of those voters

registered since March. Clingman

said that number may increase by as

many as 40,000 or 50,000 voters as

last-minute registrations are

processed.

In Payne County, 4,270 voters have

registered since Jan. 1, to reach a total

of 45,069 registrations this year. Of

the new voter registrations by political

party, which includes new voters

as well as voters who changed their

politic party, nearly half — about 46

percent — registered as Republican;

nearly 38 percent registered

Democrat, and about 16 percent registered

as Independent.

Craig said “quite a few” students

have registered, but she said that was

also typical of a presidential election

year. A demographic breakdown of

the registered voters for Payne

County or Oklahoma was unavailable.

Oklahoma Campus Compact, an

organization that encourages civic

participation among students, sponsored

a voter registration contest as

part of a week-long campaign to

attract younger voters. Sixteen college

campuses participated in the

competition. Together they registered 5,331 student voters, which

is 1,431 more than the 3,900

students who registered

through efforts with the contest.

Langston University

won the competition by registering

32 percent of its

enrollment. Debbie Terlip,

assistant director of Campus

Compact, said all the participating

schools showed a

solid effort.

“They broke all our

records on student registration

this year,” Terlip said.

Terlip said she hoped campus

groups would continue

to encourage students to vote

by promoting absentee voting

and early voting, and by

making information about

the November elections easily

accessible. Oklahoma

State University chose not to

participate in the competition,

but various groups at

the university sponsored

voter registration drives.

OSU students who registered

to vote said it was

important for them to be

involved in the political

process.

“I like to feel like I contributed,”

said Philip Jones,

20, who registered to vote in

his home state of Texas.

Samantha Ellerbach, 20, is

also voting for the first time

in a presidential election this

November. Ellerbach said

that like most Americans,

she and other students were

concerned about the economy.

“We’re all about to the

point where we’re not going

to be dependent on our parents

anymore so this is a

huge deal to us,” she said.

Craig said election commissioners

had finished processing

all of the registrations

that came in, and they

are prepared for the voting to

begin.

“We’ve worked diligently

and put in long hours to get

to this point, and we’re

ready,” she added.

More voter information is

available at the Payne

County Election Board’s

Web site, www.paynecounty.

org/election_board.php.

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