The racial gap in registered voters is consistent with 2008 numbers, with approximately 84,000 white voters and 13,000 black voters registered.
There are about 10,000 more registered women voters than men.
Both Democratic and Republican officials agreed this election has seen greater enthusiasm and participation from voters.
“What we have seen in this election compared to 2008 is an incredible increase in donations, volunteerism and activism like we’ve never seen before,” said Stephen Xavier, spokesman for the Orange County Republican Party.
“Pretty much everyone has said, young and old, ‘I feel like this is the most important election of my time.’”
Orange County Democratic Party Chairman Matthew Hughes said he has seen a similar boost in enthusiasm.
“I definitely think that voter turnout will be as high or slightly higher than it was in 2008,” he said. “In Orange County I’ve seen so many people committed and energized for this campaign.”
In order to engage voters, Orange County Democrats are emphasizing grassroots efforts like knocking on doors and calling residents, Hughes said.
The Orange County Republican Party — which is also using grassroots strategies focusing on voter awareness and volunteer workshops — has seen a sharp increase in donations.
“We’ve probably collected six to eight times more donations than in 2008. I mean, literally, people walking off the street and writing checks,” Xavier said.
UNC freshman Carolyn Ebeling said she attributes the rise in activism to the negativity surrounding the campaign.
“I think this election has a different kind of enthusiasm. It’s more negative. In 2008 it was ‘I love Obama.’ Now it’s ‘I hate Romney’ or ‘I hate Obama,’’’ she said.
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