Obama Candidacy Spurs Voter Registration
- Obama Candidacy Spurs Voter Registration
Reported by: Denis
ATLANTA -- Senator Barack Obama will be the first African-American to head a
major-party ticket. That historic "first" has already sparked a drive to
improve the turnout among some of Georgia's most reluctant voters:
Part of the pitch is that their votes could make a difference here.
Carl Burke hasn't voted in years. But he registered at the Grady hospital
drive by the Coalition for the People's Agenda. He was inspired in part by
Barack Obama's surge to the Democratic presidential nomination.
"A lot of times people say your vote don't count no way. But I think it's
proven that it do count," Burke said. "This'll be my first time voting in
50-something years of living."
Kent Feaster, like other new voters, told us this year's Democratic
candidates convinced him to register, though not the candidate you might
assume. "I like Hillary better, to be honest about it. But this will show
that we are an equal opportunity country," he said.
Of course, there's a big question: once these folks have registered, will
they actually show up to vote in November?
One way to get a clue is to look at the turnout for the Super Tuesday
primary back in February.
According to figures from the Secretary of State's office, this year's
Georgia Democratic primary saw turnout among black men jump to 42 percent,
nearly double the 23 percent from 2004.
Black women did double their turnout percentage from 26 percent in 2004 to
52 percent this year.
Clark-Atlanta University Professor William Boone said if black men surge to
the polls in November, they could move Georgia from Republican to "in play",
but only if the Obama campaign reaches Georgia's black voters personally.
"I think they will also have to put some money on the ground, something they
did not do last time -- the last two times," Boone said.
Boone said if Democrats want to take Georgia, they'll need even more than a
surge in the black vote. He said they'll have to combine that with a strong
showing by Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr.
-Charles C. Primas
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