Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rhode Island Fiercely in Play

R.I. sees surge in new-voter registration
08:07 AM EST on Saturday, February 16, 2008
A surge of newly registered Rhode Island voters — many of them young — looms as a decisive force in the March 4 presidential primary, especially in the tight Democratic contest between New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

More than 43,000 voters signed up over the last year, with about half of those (21,000) coming in the four months before the Feb. 2 deadline to register for the March vote, according to a Journal analysis of state voter files.

Of those 43,000, roughly 20,000 are between the ages of 18 and 29, a group once derided as stay-at-homes on election days, but since 2004 a group that has been casting ballots in increasing numbers...

...New voters have never before been a foundation of a presidential primary victory in Rhode Island, a state where the contest was always held after both the Republican and Democratic presidential races have been largely settled.

This year, Rhode Island — at least on the Democratic side — is fiercely in play. The Obama and Clinton campaigns are advertising on local television stations, and both campaigns are preparing vigorous voter-turnout efforts.

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