POLITICS
11/07/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Swing State Registration Boom: Florida Dems Outpace GOP; Ohio Gains Almost 500,000 New Voters

Democrats in Florida have some reason for optimism today as the state party announced that, at the close of voter registration season on Monday, it had gained nearly 250,000 more voters this year than the Republican Party.

"Between Jan. 1, 2008 and Sept. 30, 2008, 803,909 people have registered to vote [in Florida], including 360,478 Democrats, 253,294 Independents and NPAs, and 190,137 Republicans," party communications director Eric Jotkoff wrote.

"Most striking is the net gain numbers, which factor in newly registered voters, party switchers and removes people who are no longer voters in Florida. Since January, the Florida Democratic Party has had a net gain of 415,580 voters, while the Republican Party of Florida has only gained 169,841. This shows that the gap between Democrats and Republicans in Florida has grown by 245,739 voters this year alone."

A thorough demographic breakdown of the new Florida voters registered through Sept. 30 provided to the Huffington Post showed that 149,562, or 18.6 percent of this year's new registrants are African-American. That rate runs ahead of the US Census' 2006 estimation that African Americans represent 15.8 percent of Florida's population -- perhaps revealing that the Obama campaign's attempt to register black voters at historic, potentially game-changing rates might have paid some dividends.

As the Politico's Ben Smith reported Tuesday, the Obama campaign "is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to registering African-American voters. The campaign has, for example, a major initiative aimed at turning barbershops and beauty parlors into voter registration offices."

In Florida, 82 percent of those new black voters registered as Democrats, with 15 percent identifying as independents, and only three percent marking themselves down as Republicans.

Florida Democrats almost kept pace with Republicans in the race to register 388,834 new Caucasian voters, losing out by slightly more than 14,000 individuals.

Hispanic voters accounted for 20 percent of new registrants, almost exactly in line with their share of Florida's population, according to the 2006 Census.

Meanwhile in Ohio, a spokesman from Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner's office told the Huffington Post that the state gained nearly 500,000 new voters over the course of the last nine months -- shooting from 7,676,986 voters on December 31 of last year to 8,172,229 as of last night. Ohio doesn't keep track of party or demographic information, but both state parties will surely be crunching the data ahead of "get out the vote" operations in the coming weeks.

UPDATE:

Late Tuesday afternoon, Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner put out a press release touting over 600,000 new "active voters."

"Unlike the simple number of new registered voters," the statement read, "the number of active voters takes into account new registrations, changes in registration, and voters removed from the rolls under Ohio and federal law."

"We are already seeing the results of our preparation for November, with absentee voting a success across Ohio and 665,949 active voters added to the rolls. These are Ohioans from every corner of our state who can now take part in our democracy. Ohioans and, indeed the nation, can be confident that our preparation is yielding successful voting administration in 2008," Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said.