This weekend is your last chance to register to vote in the State of Texas for the 2004 election. I just got back from the HCDP Sharpstown location where we signed up about 20 people in the two hours I was there. Not too bad, but I'm a total piker compared to this person.
Katie O'Harra was prepared to get arrested in order to get people registered to vote.
"I had encouragement from people like my mother," she said of her plan to invade retail centers that don't allow solicitation of any kind on their premises.
No one interfered, though, as she distributed 15,000 voter registration cards during the past month at retail locations, as well as post offices and community centers. She even set up a stand outside the Verizon Wireless Theatre during concerts.
This weekend is her last big push.
Because if you aren't registered to vote by Monday, your voice won't be heard in the Nov. 2 election.
Some states permit voter registration on Election Day, but Texas law requires voters to be registered 30 days prior to the election in which they wish to vote.
O'Harra estimates that she personally has registered 350 voters.
How are things overall in Harris County?
Voter registration is up throughout the area, with the highest concentration of new voters in areas that have seen new residential development, including downtown and the Beltway, said Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt. His duties include voter registration.
But only 200 more people registered in Houston during the month of September this year than during the same month in 2000, the last presidential election.
"We have what I call moderate interest in voter registration," Bettencourt said. "The super excitement that is occurring in battleground states is not occurring here."
President Bush is expected to defeat Democratic nominee John Kerry easily in Texas this year, so both candidates are focusing their quest for electoral votes in states where the race is closer.
But Bettencourt still believes Harris County will set a record this year with registration of 1.9 million.
Nearly 80 percent of Harris County residents are registered, Bettencourt said, but that is no guarantee that they will vote on Election Day or during the early voting period Oct. 18-29.