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Voter registration ahead of presidential election at record numbers

Posted at 6:18 PM, Oct 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-17 18:20:26-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A record number of Michigan residents have registered to vote by the Oct. 11 deadline. As of Monday, the Michigan Department of State reported 7,495,216 voters registered statewide.

According to 2015 census data, Michigan has just more than 7.7 million residents 18-years-old and older. In comparison to those registered to vote statewide, 97 percent of Michigan residents at least 18-years-old are registered to vote.

West Michigan campaign managers for both the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump campaigns say their offices are energized, particularly with first-time voters.

“We’ve seen a lot of enthusiasm out in the field with young voters particularly interested in getting involved in the election and understanding and seeing what’s at stake with a Donald Trump as president," said Traci Kornak, Michigan's third democratic congressional district chair.

Meanwhile, Matt Hall, Michigan's third republican congressional district chair said, “Part of that are people who’ve never voted before, who are older people, who feel inspired by Donald Trump because he’s an outsider that they think will shake up the system.”

With nearly 7.5 million Michigan voters registered, this overtakes the second highest registration for the 2008 presidential election by 24,452 voters.

The Michigan Department of State's communication office officials released this statement to FOX 17 in response to this record registration:

“We’re pleased so many Michigan residents are engaged and planning to make their voices heard on Election Day. We are encouraging local clerks to plan for a large turnout on Nov. 8 and already we’re seeing a great interest in absentee ballots.”

Kornak says they're focused on ensuring those registered come out to vote.

“In terms of the registration, we’re extremely happy but that’s only part of the equation, what we still need to do is if people want to have their vote heard they need to get out and vote," said Kornak.

On the other side of the ballot, Hall says in defense of their nominee's claims this election is rigged, they will have a presence at the polls to ensure integrity.

“We have a strong election day operations campaign to ensure voter integrity," said Hall. "So our campaign as well as others will make sure we’ll have people at the polling sites to ensure integrity in the process.”

Kent County Election Director Sue deSteiguer also told FOX 17 the clerks office encourages everyone registered to get out vote. And while they have seen a lot of new voter registrations, the Kent County Clerk's Office does not yet know how may be duplicates.