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Youth really do let their fingers do the talking, apparently.

When offered the chance to register online to vote, hundreds of thousands of young Californians took advantage of the opportunity in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 presidential election.

Nearly half -- 49 percent -- of the 590,788 new voters who registered through California's nascent online system were between the ages of 18 and 29, according to the secretary of state's office.

Combining totals for online and paper applicants, the state registered 986,290 new voters in the 45 days before the Oct. 22 deadline. Of that number, 46 percent were ages 18 to 29, spokeswoman Shannan Velayas said.

Political analysts have attributed a surge of youth interest in casting ballots Nov. 6 to President Barack Obama's candidacy and to the Proposition 30 tax measure, which was touted as a way to raise billions and avert deep cuts to schools.

California does not maintain a statistical breakdown of its voter registration base by age, but pollsters routinely say that only a small percentage of eligible youth typically cast ballots.

The Field Poll had predicted that voters ages 18 to 29 would cast only about 13 percent of all ballots Nov. 6. That number, partly because of online registration, swelled to perhaps 20 percent, according to Mark DiCamillo, director of the poll.


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