High GA voter registration could mean high turnout - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

High GA voter registration could mean high turnout

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

In 2012 about 121,000 republicans came out to vote in the Iowa primaries. That number jumped this week to around 180,000.

The Democrat turnout is an even higher jump going from 25,000 to around 171,000 this primary election. The thing both sides have in common is that 45 percent of both Democrats and Republicans say it was their first time voting in a caucus, according to the polls.

It has been a neck and neck race for the two Democratic front runners. Bernie Sanders is relying on young or first time voters, and large turn out to bring home the nomination.

"We are going to create an economy that works for working families," said Sanders.

Hillary Clinton claimed her first win of 2016 on Monday.  "I stand here breathing a big sigh of relief, thank you Iowa," said Clinton as final numbers rolled in.

However, the razor thin victory over Sanders could indicate that the fate of the primaries could rest upon voter turnout and first timers to the polls.

"Getting first time voters to go out and to participate, may play an important role," said Columbus State University professor Frederick Gordon.

Gordon explains that Clinton is holding the older, more traditional Democrats while Sanders is taking advantage of new voters.

"It doesn't seem that it has as much influence as the democrats have right now," said Rick Allen, Chairman of the Muscogee County Republican Party.

Organizers with the local group say inactive voters could be key for their candidates, as Ted Cruz brings in the strongest numbers from Iowa.

"There's a lot of people who just keep up with it but just don't vote, and also there's a lot of people that go to church, Evangelical voters who believe like the candidates believe but just don't get involved," said Allen.

Officials from the Georgia Secretary of State's office say they've seen nearly 55,000 voters register during the last seven days of open registration.
Muscogee County election officials have already seen a spike that will add to the already 85,000 plus active and registered voters in Columbus.

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