Between the crab cakes and snow cone booths at the Anne Arundel County Fair, Helen Fister is selling fair goers on the Republican Party.

She hands voter registration forms to two security guards on a golf cart. They promise to fill them out and bring them back.

Anne Riley of Glen Burnie drops by the booth. She wants to switchher allegiance from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, even though many statewide elections are decided in the Democratic primary.

"It's a Democratic state, so you really don't get a say in (that) primary if you vote Republican," she said. "Now Anne Arundel County is becoming a Republican county."

Not bad for 15 minutes' work. Only 30,000 voters to go to achieve parity with the Democrats.

The booth at the county fair is the latest in a campaign to attract voters to the Republican Party, said Laura Green Treffer, chairman of the county Republican State Central Committee.

The GOP will mail literature to voters next month. Treffer said the party also will try to register people in precincts where the number of Republicans is close to the number of Democrats.

Republicans are trying to capitalize on gains made in last year's election, when the party took the county executive race and two County Council seats.

The state GOP alsohas been registering voters, mailing out state registration forms toabout 30,000 residents. The mailing prompted the State Board of Election Laws to accuse the party of wasting money.

But Treffer and Central Committee member Joan Beck said that the party is using only 300 forms to register voters during the fair this weekend and that theywould register anyone who wants to become a Democrat.

Treffer said the party is performing a public service, trying to stem the tide of voter apathy. "If we're so concerned about voter apathy, why isn't the state and the county here too?" she asked. "Where are the Democrats?"

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