9/10/08

Texas elections officials on alert

Union-backed voter-fraud group threatens Lone Star State

If you've already registered to vote in the November election, you're in good company. Voter registration has just about hit a record, and we're still a month away from the deadline. The Texas Secretary of State's Office says a little more than 13 million people have registered to vote. That's just shy of a record 13.1 million who signed up in 2004.

In Harris County non partisan groups are helping fuel the last minute surge. The Houston chapter of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, has signed up 32,000 people to vote.

Everyday, ACORN employees canvass neighborhoods, looking for eligible voters who aren't yet registered. They visit apartment complexes, gas stations, and hospitals. Joye Adams says most people are thankful to see ACORN.

"I've been wanting to do that (register to vote)," Adams often hears potential voters said. "I'm glad I saw you.'"

A record number of cards are expected to be processed in Harris County ahead of the November election. Voter Registrar, Paul Bettencourt, says most people are getting up to date on their address.

The number of registered voters in the state's largest county is up about 70,000 from the March primary. Harris County is just 43,000 voters shy of crushing the record set back in 2004 of 1.942 million voters.

Bettencourt estimates the maximum number of registered voters in the county will be two million once the deadline passes. He says the near record numbers early on are due to population growth combined with the excitement of a historical presidential election.

"By the fact so many people sign up in a state that's not a battleground, tells you there's a good amount of interest," Bettencourt said.

It's hard to tell which candidate will benefit from the newly registered voters. ACORN doesn't track whether they're signing up more Republicans or Democrats. They just want as many people as possible at the polls on Nov. 4.

The county clerk predicts 60 to 65 percent of registered voters will cast a ballot on Nov. 4.

(myfoxhouston.com)

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