It's a no-brainer that Election Day '08 will draw record numbers of new voters to the polls, but it appears that the historic battle between Barack Obama and John McCain is also setting records for needless paperwork.
The State Board of Elections and the Richmond registrar's office say they're fielding record numbers of new voter applications.
Problem is, not all those new voter applications are from new voters.
Richmond Registrar Kirk Showalter estimates that as many as half of the new voter applications her office has been receiving are for voters already in the system. So overwhelmed is her office that she's hired six additional staffers to handle the work.
“Then again, some of these people are probably having applications thrust at them by [get-out-the-vote] groups,” Showalter says. “And they're filling them out just to get rid of the person.”
Whatever the reason for the deluge of duplicate voter-registration forms, she says, there's a silver lining to the increased load that could help her office avert the disappointment of enthusiastic would-be voters turned away because they didn't register when they needed to.
“We have a lot less trouble with people who have moved and didn't update their registration and then show up on Election Day only to be disappointed,” she says.