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Groups sign up voters before Monday deadline
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Voter registration

To vote in the Nov. 4 general election, you must register to vote by Monday. You must also update your registration if you have moved. There are several ways to register:

Download and complete a voter registration application from the Georgia Secretary of State's Web site.

Contact your local county board of registrars' office or election office. In Hall County: Election Supervisor, 770-531-6945. Visit our Election Guide online for a full listing of election offices in Northeast Georgia.

Go to a public library, public assistance office, recruitment office, school or other government office for a mail-in form. Forms must be postmarked by Monday.

College students can obtain Georgia voter registration forms from their school registrar's office.

Source: Georgia Secretary of State's office

Many local political groups spent the weekend scrambling to get just a few more residents registered to vote in time for the Monday registration deadline.

With the election of a new president just 30 days away, it's likely canvassers have knocked on your door or jingled your phone at least once in the past three months. Many wanted to get you registered to vote, others hoped to solidify your support for Republican John McCain or Democrat Barack Obama.

Abb Hayes, chairman of the Hall County Democratic Party, said party registration canvassers trekked door to door Saturday afternoon for the last time this election season.

"This weekend is our last chance because voter registrations have to be postmarked by Monday," Hayes said.

He said the Hall County Democratic Party has been very active registering voters in the past three months. It has set up registration booths at Wal-Mart, the Department of Labor and at numerous schools and colleges.

Joshua Morris, District 3 vice chairman of the Hall County Republican Party, said local Republicans have made voter registration forms available at the McCain campaign election office on Green Street. Hayes and Morris both said their parties haven't restricted their registration efforts just to any particular groups, but are trying to reach all potential voters.

"The party is doing community outreach to everyone," Morris said. "Not that we're not trying to reach (minorities), we're just trying to reach everyone."

Charlotte Sosebee-Hunter, interim elections director for Hall County, said there have been "massive numbers" of people registering to vote in the Nov. 4 general election in recent weeks.

Her office has had a steady stream of people walking in to register, as well as forms coming in the mail and being forwarded from the Georgia Secretary of State's office. From July 15 through Wednesday, some 3,800 people have registered to vote in Hall County, she said.

Sosebee-Hunter said she anticipates a huge number of people coming in to register on Monday, as that is the last day to register to vote in the Nov. 4 general election.

As of Oct. 1, there are 77, 579 active registered voters in Hall County, according to the Georgia Secretary of State office. White female voters make up more than 35,000 of those active voters and about 31,000 white males are registered. In sharp contrast, there are only 5,636 total black voters and 3,239 Latino voters registered in Hall County.

Although she's not yet an American citizen, Leslie Ancieta, 20, is working hard to get Hispanic citizens to the polls on Nov. 4. Ancieta came with her family to the United States from Lima, Peru, when she was 8 years old.

Ten years ago, she applied to become an American resident, and in July, her wish was granted.
With full citizenship status still a good three years away, Ancieta won't be able to participate in this presidential election. But that hasn't stopped her and other members of Gainesville State College's Students for a Progressive Society from spending hours on the phone, trying to recruit new voters. She also has manned voter registration booths on the Oakwood college's campus.

Tonna Harris-Bosselmann, the faculty supporter of the campus political group, said students have registered nearly a thousand voters on campus this year. Harris-Bosselmann said a few members of Students for a Progressive Society spent their weekend canvassing, in hopes of registering as many voters as possible.

Ancieta said she's frustrated she can't vote in what she calls a crucial election for minorities, but that's what drives her to work so hard making sure other minority residents do.

"If I can't vote, it makes me want to push people to vote. So in a way, they're kind of voting for me," Ancieta said. "Everybody needs to vote, especially young kids because we are the future. Everything we're doing is for us, for when we get older."

As the voter registration closes Monday, Ancieta said the campus group's focus will turn to manning phone banks for Obama.

Stephanie Martin, 20, is also a member of Gainesville State College's Students for a Progressive Society. Born in Puerto Rico, Martin is fully eligible to vote in this election. She said she feels as a citizen, she must have a strong voice for the Hispanic community, many of whom are ineligible to vote.

Martin is no stranger to the campaign trail. She said she helped Ashley Bell to win the support of the Hispanic community in his race for a seat on the Hall County Board of Commissioners.

As Martin has traveled from door to door this year registering voters and asking for them to support Bell and Obama, she said she has discovered many Hispanics who are citizens and can vote still fear being arrested at the polls.

"People that don't know and are uninformed, they go in there and see sheriff's officers and they're intimidated and they leave," she said. "Just their presence is intimidating."

Martin said many minority voters feel separated from the white majority, and often feel their vote doesn't count.

She said she hopes the issue of immigration reform will draw minority voters to the polls this year. Martin said she supports Obama's pathway to citizenship, but feels even more needs to be done to address the immigration issues that affect the nation's education and health care systems and economy.

"I wish both (candidates) would do more for it, including Obama," she said.

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