Voter registrations are way up in Erie County

DECISION 2016

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- With less than three weeks until election day, people across the country, and here at home, are registering to vote in huge numbers.

The Erie County Board of Elections is preparing for what could be a record turnout. Most of that is thanks to the presidential race.
 
"History can be made again with the election of the first woman president," said Erie County Democratic Elections Commissioner Len Lenihan.
 
"You also have the very unorthodox, unprecedented candidacy of Donald Trump, with a lot of the different hoopla that he's brought into the race. So you've got a lot of interest in this race."
 
That's translated into more people registering to vote. The deadline has gone and come to register here in New York state, but 2 On Your Side obtained new numbers Thursday showing how many new registrations came in this year in Erie County.
 
The numbers show that 35,980 residents in the county filled our new voter registration forms this year. Most of those have come since the April primary.
 
Of those new voters, 44 percent registered as Democrats and 22 percent are Republicans. Others registered with minor parties, but 28 percent decided to go without a party at all.
 
Lenihan says he's not surprised to see those numbers. 
 
"We are almost 2 to 1 in this county Democratic over Republican."
 
The last time a Clinton was on the presidential ballot, in 1996, there were fewer than 130 million people registered to vote. By the last election, that had risen to almost 150 million people.
 
But over the past 4 years, there's been a huge surge.
 
The data firm TargetSmart says there are now more than 200 million Americans registered to vote. That's a 33 percent increase since the last general election.
 
Erie County Republican Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr says those kind of numbers demonstrate that people still have faith in the election system. Mohr says Trump is simply wrong, and the election will not be rigged.
 
"We have to reassure the public at each step of the way that their ballots are secure, that their ballots are anonymous, and that their ballots are going to be counted," said Mohr.
 
With these new registrations factored in, there are just shy of 600,000 Erie County residents who will be eligible to cast ballots on November 8th.
 


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