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Number of new voters sharply on the rise

WASHINGTON, April 28 (UPI) -- The historic Democratic primary season is invigorating people to register to vote in North Carolina, Indiana and elsewhere, officials said.

In Wake County, N.C., Cherie Poucher, elections director, hired 10 temporary employees to handle the crush Monday, the final day of North Carolina voter registration, The Washington Post reported.

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"In 20 years," Poucher said, "I've never seen anything quite like it."

Election officials in North Carolina and Indiana, both conducting presidential primaries May 6, are reporting a swell of new Democrats that triples their registrations prior to the primaries in 2004.

The contest between Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois engaged enough new voters to change the political makeup of the country, experts told the Post.

The next few months and the general election will reveal the extent of the shift.

"We are likely to set an all-time record for primary turnout," said Curtis Gans, director of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate at American University in Washington.

"Whether this makes a major historical impact depends on who these voters are and whether or not they get what they want."

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