Pike County voter registration up as election excitement grows

Published 9:38 am Sunday, September 21, 2008

Kelly Geoghagan is not registered to vote in Troy, but when it comes time for election, she’s not going to miss out.

Geoghagan, a Troy University student from Port Saint Joe, Fla., said this presidential election is key for this generation, and she’ll vote, even with an absentee ballot.

Another first time voter, Scott Sexton, of Troy, said he won’t miss out on this chance to make his voice heard in the election booth.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

With a presidential race full of history-making potential, these two first timers said the election brings a lot of excitement to the young voting generation.

“In general my friends are excited because there’s a less traditional candidate,” Sexton said. “We’ve never had a black candidate, and he’s young and different.”

Geoghagan said she can’t pinpoint just what it is that brings all the attention, but both media coverage and unique candidates are the likely sources that have drawn her peers in.

“I would say more of our generation is voting,” Geoghagan said.

And, according to state and local voter registration numbers, Geoghagan is right.

“I’ve been here 14 years, and I don’t think we’ve ever had 100 voters register in any week unless we’re doing a drive,” said Evelyn Morgan, director of the Pike County Board of Registrars. “There’s just a lot of enthusiasm in this presidential race and in the county.”

Just this year, Morgan said more than 1,400 have registered to vote, and she has received 345 applicants in just the last two weeks.

In the 2008 presidential primary election, Morgan said more than 7,000 cast their ballots locally.

According to the Birmingham News, 1.1 million Alabamians voted in the primaries, falling short of 2004’s presidential election of 1.9 million.

Both locally and statewide, officials are looking to break records.

“There’s no way to know, but we’re guessing there’s going to be a very good voter turnout this election that may very well set some records,” said Pike County Judge of Probate Bill Stone.

Stone said to prepare, they are planning for a full election staff and have ordered more than 100 percent of the ballots they’d think they need.

“We have to order the ballots long before voter registration closes, and voter registration is up, and we had to prepare for all the people who may register,” Stone said.

Morgan said not just young people are turning up to register, but youth are playing a big role in the numbers.

“We have had a lot of students come into register, but it’s not anything like what they will have when they do their voter registration drive in October,” Morgan said.

Stone said this election offers a lot of excitement that others have not had.

“This election has everything in it,” Stone said. “History’s going to be made regardless of who wins, with the possibility of an African American president or a female vice president. I think those factors certainly have created a lot of interest.”

And though, there is undoubtedly a lot of energy in the race, Geoghagan said it still comes back to the issues.

“The thing that’s most important to me is where they stand on the issues, not race or political party or anything else,” Geoghagan said.

“For me, I look up stats and see what their voting record is on issues.”

The last day for voters to register in Pike County for the Nov. 4 election is Oct. 24 at the board of registrars office in the Pike County Courthouse.