October 6, 2008
By JEFFREY WEISS and BLANCA CANTÚ
The Dallas Morning News
Elections offices in North Texas were busy Monday with a crush of last-minute applications. But this year's highly charged presidential election didn't translate into an unusual flood of first-time voters.
While the campaign has galvanized voters, it hasn't necessarily drawn in many people who are so uninvolved that they aren't already registered to vote, experts say.
Monday was the deadline to register to vote on Nov. 4. Election officials said they expect to spend the next several days digging through the final surge of applications. . .
Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, said the seemingly modest jump in total voters may be more impressive than it looks because getting people to register is a lot harder than people think.
"It happens time after time that the sort of excitement that is generated temporarily on the streets or in a rally doesn't flow through to voter registration," he said.
As an example, he cited the massive immigration march that brought as many as 500,000 to the streets of Dallas in 2006. The march was followed by a relative trickle of new Hispanic voters.
For many unregistered voters, daily concerns about basic needs far outweigh any interest in politics. And that doesn't change even in a hot election campaign, Dr. Jillson said.
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