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Voter Registration Up, Especially For Democrats

May 20, 2008, 9:52 PM by Angela Kennecke

Voter Registration Up, Especially For Democrats
All this political attention on South Dakota has prompted more people to register to vote and to register as Democrats to take part in the upcoming primary.

By Friday, 6,000 more people had registered as Democrats than in the 2006 primary in the state. And a majority of those are in Minnehaha County. 

Those personal visits from the Democratic presidential contenders really spurred a rise in voter registration.
In Minnehaha County alone 4,100 more people registered to vote and four thousand of them registered as Democrats. 

"Those are both Republicans who've changed to vote in primary and independents who may have changed to vote in the primary and people who just want to register as Democrats," says South Dakota Democratic Party Chair Jack Billion. 

Billion is encouraged by the increase in Democrats in a state where the Republican Party has had a traditional stronghold. 

"States benefit by having a strong two party system and if you look at things that need to be done in South Dakota; wind energy, jobs, wages, health care, education and education funding, I think we need a two party system and a little more discussion than what we've had in the past." 

And if it takes high profile candidates in a neck and neck race, that's fine with Billion. 

"South Dakota does not always get a great deal of attention and we may not get much afterwards but for right now it's our moment in the sun.” 

The question is, can the Democrats keep their momentum as they head into the general election. 

"I don't think there's a fear of losing voters. The biggest thing is they become engaged in the political process," he says. 

Registered Republicans are also up, by 2600 so far since the June 2006 primary. 

And Independent voters has risen the most, by 75-hundred. 

If you'd like to see more voter registration numbers, visit the Secretary of State's Web site.

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