All told 1.92 million people have registered to vote in Harris County this year. That's down about one and a half percent from the General Election of two years ago. Wearing his Harris County Voter Registrar hat, Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt says this downturn is following the national numbers.
"Nationally we've heard that the average is off by as much as two and a half percent nationally. That basically means that the voter registration levels are not what they were in the Presidential election."
Or in the off-year election of 2002. Despite more than 400 voter registration drives over the past two years in Harris County alone, and despite all the scandals and political heat between the major parties and candidates, fewer people are registering to vote. Bettencourt says he thinks campaigns that focus on scandals instead of issues just make some people tune out.
"I'm not surprised because in my mind this has not been a stellar year for politics. When things get too far away from public policy debates generally people get less interested in the election process, and of course that's what drives voter roll increases."
Bettencourt says people can check their voter registration status on-line before they go to vote early or on election day a week from Tuesday. The complete up-to-date voter roll is posted online at hcvoter dot net. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.