Marengo Co. has 15,177 voters on roll

Published 9:43 pm Tuesday, October 21, 2008

There has been an explosion of new voter registrations over the past few weeks in Marengo County. The excitement of the upcoming presidential election is generating a wave of people getting involved by registering to vote.

Marengo County’s registered voter list totaled 15,177 on Tuesday morning. By the end of the day, an additional 60 people or more had registered. Barry Hunt, a member of the Marengo County Board of Registrars, said that 777 people has registered to vote since August, with 421 of those since Oct. 1.

“It’s keeping us pretty busy,” said Hunt, who said the registrars’ office in Linden has two other board members, June Vice and Carolyn Thomas.

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“We have been swamped,” said Vice, who also stated that this has been the heaviest turnout for new voter registrations she has seen in her 11 years with the registrars’ office.

Friday will be the deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 4 general election. Hunt said it is better if people come to the registrars’ office at the courthouse in Linden to register to vote. They can also register at the Demopolis City Hall and by mail, as long as it is post marked Oct. 24.

“We plan to have a complete voter roster ready for the probate office to give the polling places by Tuesday of next week,” said Hunt.

Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman said Monday the state has set an all-time registration record of nearly 3 million voters and expects to see a record-voting turnout on Election Day.

Statewide, black voter registrations have grown at a faster rate than whites. Figures from the secretary of state’s office show that from Oct. 31, 2007, to Oct. 14, 2008, Alabama’s white voter registrations grew by 121,856, or 6.5 percent. The black voter rolls grew by 87,980, or 14.3 percent.

Chapman also reported Monday that her office is investigating why six counties in Alabama appear to have more registered voters that residents eligible to vote.

It was reported last week that Conecuh, Greene, Lowndes, Perry, Washington and Wilcox counties had more registered voters than people eligible to vote, according to 2006 Census estimates.

Earlier this year, Alabama’s new registration system got its first real-life test in the Super Tuesday presidential primaries. The new system ties all registered voters into a statewide computer database.

“It really is effective in helping to purge the rolls of voters who have died, registered elsewhere or are convicted criminals and cannot vote,” said Hunt.

He did indicate that a number of inactive voters can distort registration figures in some cases, but the new system purges any registered voter who has not voted in two consecutive presidential elections.