7/31/0 4:44 PM Inches: 6.8 REGULAR BC-NV-VotingAge 07-31 0287

Nevadans of voting age up 16 percent

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CARSON CITY (AP) - Nevada's 191,000 new voters aren't much compared with California's 2 million since 1996 - but its 16 percent growth rate is the highest in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 1996, Nevada had nearly 1.2 million residents of voting age and totals should hit nearly 1.4 million this year.

Deputy secretary of state for elections Susan Morandi said election officials are trying to boost voter participation, but the increase in eligible voters might not be reflected in the number of people who actually show up at the polls.

''We hope (voter turnout) will go up, that's one of the aims of our office,'' she said. ''I do think we'll see an improvement in voter turnout this year, but that's because it's a presidential election year more than anything else.''

Following Nevada on the list of states with fastest growth rates are Arizona at 12 percent and Texas at 9 percent. Behind California when it comes to largest number of new eligible voters is Texas with 1 million and Florida with 700,000.

Nationally, the number of residents old enough to vote this year is expected to jump 5 percent to 206 million - 9 million more than in 1996. For the first time, women are expected to be more than half of the country's voting population at 52 percent.

Women also are expected to outnumber voting age men in every state except Nevada - 51 percent men - and Alaska - 53 percent men.

States with less than 1 percent change in their voting populations include North Dakota, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. Washington, D.C., is expected to a have 4 percent loss in voting age population.

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