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On to Nov. 6: Voter surge is good news for Texas and the nation

By Longview News-Journal
Oct. 13, 2012 at 11 p.m.

As we have said many times, there's plenty to dislike about the current state of politics, with its gridlocked inability to produce much beyond truckloads of nonsense rhetoric.

But perhaps this is a silver lining: It appears a high level of voter engagement, at least for the coming general election, has resulted.

At Tuesday's deadline for voters to get registered to take part in the Nov. 6 election, elections officials across East Texas told us they had been swamped - with lines at times literally out the door in Gregg County - by voters doing paperwork to make sure they would be able to make their voices heard at the ballot box. In Harrison County, election officials said it was possible there would be more active voters this November than in 2008.

And it wasn't just happening in East Texas, where recent elections have enjoyed a bit heavier turnout than has been seen across the rest of the state. The Texas Secretary of State told us voter registration applications were coming in at high volume statewide right up to the deadline.

"It was easy," first-time voter Katie Alexander told our Glenn Evans outside the Gregg County Elections Office after she had registered. "I'm hearing that a lot of people will be voting. It's important that everybody has a say-so in what happens in the U.S."

That is exciting, and we hope such enthusiasm carries through to get voters to the polls, whether on Nov. 6 or through early voting, which begins Oct. 22.

We like to think voters are paying attention to issues, debates and candidates, and educating themselves through news coverage and other means. Many might not welcome dissent from their views, but those lines at elections offices leave no doubt they're vigorously exercising their democratic birthright to cast a ballot.

The implications at the state and local office levels could be interesting and, in many cases, results will come down to how many registered voters turn out at the polls.

While Texas is a lock for Mitt Romney in the presidential race, that doesn't mean Democrats will stay away from the polls, and that's good. The greater the turnout, the better for all, regardless of the outcome.

On to November!



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