I don't think that anything can measure the excitement that Barack has created about the Presidential race as does the torrid pace of new voter registrations.
I sent out an e-mail last week to remind people about the looming deadline and to encourage them to participate in this historic election. The replies were all marked by an almost giddy eagerness by people about the election.
In my little neighborhood district office alone, we registered dozens of new voters on just Monday and Tuesday, which was the deadline. First time voters, recent grads still registered in another state, people bringing their roommates in to register, but all people looking forward to February 5th.
(By the way, unregistered voters can still register and vote, but it must be done at the Board of Elections. When registering during the “grace period,” a person needs to show two valid pieces of identification, one showing the current residence address.)According
to Jim Allen, communications director for the Chicago Board of Elections, between January 3, the day of the Iowa caucuses, and January 8
, when traditional voter registration closed in Illinois, nearly 20,000 city residents signed up to vote
. And the registrations were "heavily skewed" to people under 30, Allen said.
Now obviously, in my opinion, a lot of this is Barack-centric. But what's magnifying it even more is his timing. We have a leader with the charisma to win young people over and the substance to back it up who is hitting the scene in a perfect convergence with the YouTube etc. explosion that has irreparably changed the political landscape by drawing in this same demographic.
The same way that a telegenic John F. Kennedy may have closed the door on a sweaty Richard Nixon during their televised debate (at the old CBS studio on McClurg Ct. btw), Barack is a natural to appeal to the MySpace generation, evidenced only in part by the wave of online contributions received by the campaign.
So what does it mean? If the country stays on the pace reflected in the record turnouts in Iowa and New Hampshire, with many of the new participants being newly-engaged young adults energized by the 'tall, skinny kid with the funny name', we may soon be calling him Mr. President. And I'm good with that.