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Clerks get a rush

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It was just a few hours before the doors closed at the county elections office and the clerks working the desk looked like they had just finished a marathon.

In a way, they had.

Between Sept. 9 and Oct. 20 (the last day to register to vote) 8,033 voters registered in SLO County. During the last few days before the deadline the office was flooded with anywhere from 800 to 1,200 new registrations each day.

As of Oct. 20, there were 158,942 registered voters in the county. Despite the procrastinated influx of new voters, there were still fewer registered voters than in the November 2004 election: 162,459, according to the Secretary of State.

The recent flood of registrations broke down to about 37 percent Democrat, 25 percent Republican, and 29 percent who decline to state party affiliation.

Republicans still are the biggest pool of voters in SLO County (63,934), followed by Democrats (57,157), and then those who decline to state their affiliation (29,281). The remaining voters are divided between American Independents (3,261), Green Party (1,623), Libertarians (997), Peace and Freedom (312), and miscellaneous (2,377).

County Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald could not say whether there was a clear demographic trend among the new voters. What she did say was that a significant pool of older voters noted they had never voted before.

Oct. 28 is the last day to request a mail-in ballot. Requests can be made in writing to the Clerk’s Office.

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