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Registration Numbers Spike For Democrats In Key States

This story was written by Matthew Tomlin, The Daily Vidette

If newly registered Democrats turn out on Election Day, Barack Obama is likely to win a wide margin over McCain in many key states.

"The Obama campaign has employed a 50-state strategy, meaning they are focusing on all states for voter registration and voter turnout efforts, even those states which have historically favored Republicans," Katie Boundy, president of College Democrats, said.

In a dozen key states, the rolls have gained by a total of nearly 4 million voters. In Florida, newly registered Democrats more than double Republicans. New Democrats outnumber Republicans 4 to 1 in both Colorado and Nevada. In North Carolina, the ratio is 6 to 1.

Even in Virginia, a state with non-partisan registration, 310,000 new voters have been added to the rolls, a high number of which live in traditionally Democratic strongholds.

Students have proven to be a key factor of support for the Obama campaign.

"Right from the beginning, the Obama campaign made it clear that they wanted to build a grassroots movement, which is perfect for involving students who have very little cash but a lot of enthusiasm," Boundy said.

Over the summer, the campaign strengthened its efforts, sending hundreds of staff and volunteers to states where registration percentages were low.

"Campaign politics offers tons of chances for young people to get involved by making phone calls, going canvassing, and doing voter registration, so we can get involved even if we can't afford to donate," Boundy said.

Many of the gains, such as in North Carolina, were made during the intense primary battles. Though divisive at the time, the long primary season added a wave of new voters to the Democratic rolls.

In Pennsylvania, thousands of Independent and Republican voters changed their affiliation to cast a vote for Obama or Clinton.

At Illinois State, Bryanna Gardner, a freshman psychology major and newly registered voter, said she is casting her vote for Obama because she sees him as someone who can rise above the bitter Washington partisanship.

"Obama is a new face in Washington," she said. "He hasn't been there long enough to let it change him the way McCain has."

"I find his message appealing," she added. "With his background, I believe him when he says he is going to fight for underprivileged and middle class Americans."

Katie Boundy echoed Gardner. "He brings a fresh face and a unique story, which is a very powerful image for people in our generation who have been disillusioned by recent crises and failures of the current administration."

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