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Voter registration down in Obama’s home state

Published: Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

CHICAGO – Voter registration in President Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois has decreased slightly since his historic election four years ago.

About 7.4 million people were registered to vote as of this week, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections. That’s a drop of about 4.7 percent compared with 2008, when enthusiasm for Obama was credited for a spike in registrations nationwide.

In the president’s hometown of Chicago, registration has fallen about 10.5 percent from Election Day 2008.

The deadline to register to vote in Illinois was Oct. 9.

With early voting scheduled to start Monday in Illinois, there’s disagreement about what the numbers mean.

Some analysts said the dip signals that voters are less excited about Obama this time around.

But Paul Green, a political science professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago, doesn’t see a correlation with the president.

Several factors, such as population mobility, have a greater impact on registration, he said, adding that the numbers simply have returned to pre-2008 levels.

Obama, who faces Republican Mitt Romney on Nov. 6, is expected to easily win Illinois.

Eligible voters still may register or update their registration during the grace period that lasts until Nov. 3, but they must do so in person at their county clerk or board of election commissioners’ office.

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