Tuesday, August 03, 2004

New Voters, Old Hype?
I've heard the "voters will come out of the woodwork" argument before and been disappointed (think Dean in Iowa). Michael Moore is pushing this take as well: the idea that more people are engaged than before and that polls looking for "likely voters" miss a ton of people that will sway the election: new voters, previously disaffected voters, etc. In the end, the polls seem to come pretty close, and I don't expect them to miss by much when it's all said and done, even though those arguments sound nice.

Still, reports like this, even though the numbers are relatively small in the big scheme of things, are encouraging and make me think polls at least aren't likely to be wrong in Bush's favor (from the Miami Herald, via Alternet):
Heber Siri, a Uruguayan immigrant in South Florida, will become an American citizen later this month. And as soon as the ceremony is over, he will register to vote. "That's why I'm becoming a citizen," Siri, who works at a Coral Gables car dealership, said. "I want to vote."

Siri, 55, will be among the 9,000 new citizens who will recite the oath of allegiance in two large naturalization ceremonies Aug. 10 and 11 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Nationwide, more than 40,000 immigrants are expected to become new Americans in August.

They're part of a surge of immigrants in South Florida and across the United States who plan to become citizens in coming weeks -- many of them driven by the desire to be eligible to vote in time for the presidential election.

Federal statistics show that almost half a million immigrants have sought citizenship between October and May, 32 percent more than in the same period last fiscal year.
Some Florida immigrants may be voting Bush, but I have to believe that most new citizens will be overwhelmingly Democratic.

Everywhere I look, with every group I volunteer to help, people are registering new voters--it's the standard progressive-group activity. And yet I don't think I've heard a single comprehensive story about any notable increase in registered voters. Have motor voter laws made registering to vote so easy that registration drives aren't really needed or successful? I assume that if the voter rolls were shooting up, somebody would have noticed, and people would be talking about it...

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