JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – At 18 years and 12 days old, James Clark checked one thing off his “becoming an adult” checklist on Tuesday: registering to vote.
"It's very important so I wanted to make sure I did that," said Clark.
Clark, a Potter’s House senior, was one of approximately 5,000 last-day registers in Duval County and part of the reason a local record was shattered.
"We were concerned applications would be down, but now we're at the highest level we've ever been,” said Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland.
Holland believes once everything is processed, the River City will have between 550,000-600,000 registered voters surpassing the old record number of 544,000.
So who are all of these new registers? It turns out the bulk are unaffiliated.
“The largest group that’s increased has really been the independents. Those who have not identified with the two major parties have about 13,000 more (registers) than 2008,” said Holland.
Comparing the Democrats versus the Republicans, Holland says locally Republicans saw a much bigger bump.
"Their numbers were up about 9,000. Democrats were actually down about 8,000 from 2008,” he said.
Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry attributes the rise to on-the-ground, grassroots campaigning. And even though the registration deadline has come and gone, he tells voters don’t think they’re done yet.
"It's intense now and it's going to get even more intense,” Curry said.
With the ink barely dry on his voter application, Clark says he’s just happy this year he gets to enjoy the ride.
"It's something that we've talked about in school a lot. So, just being able to do it really brings a lot of excitement,” said Clark.
Holland is hoping the high number of registrations this year will translate into a high voter turnout come election time.
Early voting begins October 27 and extends through November 3. The general election is on November 6.
Action News did reach out to the Obama campaign for this story via telephone and email, but we are still waiting to hear back.
For more information about the upcoming election just go to www.duvalelections.com