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It appears that North Carolinians actually prefer to be part of the political process, if given the chance – the statewide surge of voter registration since January, before the first meaningful primary election in 30 years, testifies to that.

And everybody’s getting a piece of the action: Of the 150,000 or so new voters – a 2.6 percent increase in just three months – the Democrats garnered more than half, and 37 percent registered as unaffiliated.

But even the GOP, which usually gets its way in NC presidential elections, has doubled in size in the Old North State.

About a third of these new voters are under 25 years of age. And the number of new African-American registrants is four times what it was during the same period four years ago, during George W. Bush’s legendary run at a second term.

Anecdotal reports of registration drives have concerned Americans exercising their rights at the rate of 50 an hour.

It was a boom, is what it was: a veritable gold rush of ordinary citizens, each with the power to elect our next leader. For who’s to say which one of us will cast the deciding vote?

E pluribus unum.

We at YES! Weekly were, of course, thrilled by the surge of active participants in the workings of our nation and state. More voices, more choices, right?

The gusher erupted anew last week due to one-stop voting, a system implemented last spring that allows unregistered voters to register and vote at the same time up until three days before the primary election on May 6.

May we humbly suggest to the NC Board of Elections a running counter on its website?

There’s plenty to get excited about this year in local and state elections, but for now we’d like to consider the ramifications of the new voters on the presidential race.

Most of North Carolina’s voters are registered Democrats – more than two to one against registered Republicans – and there could be almost 3 million of them voting in the primary. Extrapolating from the demographics of new registrants leads us to believe that Obama has the edge – that, and he’s whipping the tar out of Clinton in the polls by a 20 percent margin.

Assuming Obama holds on to his lead and secures the nomination – no guarantees there – how will the dice tumble in the fall?

North Carolina is regarded as a red state in presidential elections, even though registered Democrats make up about 45 percent of registered voters, while Republicans have 34 percent and unaffiliated voters have 21 percent. But perhaps this appellation should be rethought.

If Obama can bring the registered Democrats home and create a few Obamacans along the way, North Carolina could prove to be more of a contest than the McCain supporters think.

And if the response to our first important primary election in 30 years is any indication, it seems that North Carolinians relish the idea of becoming a battleground state.

YES! Weekly chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion in our publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be a vital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed represent a consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through much deliberation and consideration.

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