Presidential Race Inspiring Droves Of First Time Voters

In some cities the 2004 presidential race has an unprecedented number of Americans wanting to stand up and be counted. Twice as many people are registering to vote in Cleveland, Ohio, than did four years ago while Philadelphia is experiencing its biggest voting boom in 20 years. Circuit Clerk's offices in South Mississippi have also been buzzing with activity.

At age 32 Michael Collins feels he has maturity that he didn't have at 18 when he became eligible to vote. He "really didn't look at politics and wasn't very interested early in my life. Now I feel like I have some point of views and I hope my vote makes a differen

Mario Haynes also registered to vote for the first time this week. The 26-year-old felt good about becoming part of the political process. Haynes said "I feel better now so that way I know now that if something goes wrong in the election then it wasn't my fa

The Jackson County Circuit Clerk's office has been flooded with phone calls and paperwork from people wanting to get on the voter rolls.

"It's very very busy," said Circuit Clerk Joe Martin. "We have hundreds of applications that we're processing. A lot of my ladies worked last weekend overtime. They're working every night this week and probably going to work this weekend."

Martin says voter rolls always grow in presidential election years and for some people it's the only time they go to the polls. Again Friday at 5 p.m. is the deadline for anyone wanting to register to vote at their county circuit clerk's office. Mail in registrations have a little more time. They must be postmarked by Sunday October 3rd.