Registrar Sees Influx of Voters 

Presidential races always bring a flurry of new voter registration, but 2008 is shaping up to be a particularly active election year.

The State Board of Elections reports that as of May 16, 131,300 new voters had registered to cast ballots in November.

"These are just new registrations," State Board of Elections Secretary Nancy Rodrigues says. "This does not take into account people who have died or moved out of the area."

Even accounting for those natural population changes, the increase in registered voters represents a net gain of more than 108,330 new voters lining up for a potentially very interesting election year.

That number stands in stark contrast to totals during the 2004 election, when roughly 50,000 new voters registered. In 2007, only about 17,000 new voters registered.

The buzz around this year's races -- which in Richmond includes elections for the U.S. Senate, City Council and School Board and a hotly contested at-large mayoral race — is a lot for Rodrigues to think about. But it's a good kind of busy, she says, despite the now seemingly ubiquitous concerns over electronic balloting and other polling concerns.

"It's exciting — I just hope they come out and vote," she says. "You don't mind work if it means more people are participating in democracy."

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