Last Day to Register

Whether you're for Barack Obama, John McCain, or undecided — today is the last day to register to vote for next month's election. Bill Stamps reports on how registration is going.
All year we've heard about how much excitement there is over this years election, and how people who've never followed politics have suddenly become interested. But at least in South Texas, that has not translated into a flood of new voters.

"It's actually been slower in the last week or two than we would expect. And I'm not even having that much of an impact with Ike. We are seeing the same thing in Austin and other parts of the state."

Paul Bettancourt is Harris County's Tax Assessor and oversees voter registration. He says even during the primary when Hillary Clinton squared off against Barack Obama they had a huge turn out, but most had already be registered before.

"Democratic party turnout was in the stratosphere at 407,000. Only 9,850 of those had never voted in Harris County before."

No one is sure why the numbers have been low.  It's not the hurricane, because they say new voter registration has been low all year. However Bettancourt says it's been even slower since Ike.

"If your power has been out for 12 days — like it was at the Bettencourt household — it may not be your top priority to get your voter registration card in before the deadline.  But hopefully you'll remember to do it at the deadline so we can get you on the rolls, so you can vote in earnest in the presidential election."

For those who don't have a lot of time…find a computer and you can be registered in minutes.

"You can get online at TexasOnline and change your drivers license address and if you move within the county you can also change your voter registration at the same time."

Bill Stamps. KUHF Houston Public Radio News.