RALEIGH, N.C. — If you want to take part in Election 2004, time is running out. The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 2 general election is 5 p.m. Friday.
Registration forms are available at government offices, county elections offices, the
state Board of Elections
and online. You can register in person or by mail. Forms must be submitted by 5 p.m. or postmarked by Oct. 8.
A record number of new voters have registered in advance of the November election and officials say even more are expected to sign up.
The state reports a one-year registration tally of more than 473,000 new voters as of Monday. The State Board of Elections expects an additional 100,000 new voters by Friday's deadline.
"I do believe this is the most we've seen ever," said Johnnie McLean of the state Board of Elections.
If the number holds, the state would have more than 5.4 million voters.
New voters have been signed up in registration drives by interest groups and political parties, all driven by a close presidential election in which party loyalists want to be sure their supporters are not sitting out this election.
"It's a combination of several factors, but the biggest factors are hot, competitive emotional races," said Gary Bartlett of the state Board of Elections. "I do not think we will have half a million new voters, but I do think we could have 250,000 new voters," he said.
State records show Republicans have boosted their numbers by 5.7 percent since January. Democrats are up nearly 4 percent and Libertarian increased 12 percent. Unaffiliated voters are up 8.5 percent.
Bartlett said just over 3 million North Carolinians went to the polls in the Nov. 2000 election -- a record that will likely be easily broken this year.
"However, if everyone does show up to vote, we're going to have long lines on Election Day," he said.