Non-affiliated voter numbers continue to grow in Mountain State
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Since the May Primary Election, Republicans and voters with ‘No Party Affiliation” have made up the largest number of new registered voters in West Virginia.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office as of Oct. 15, 10,385 state residents have registered as Republicans since May 8, while 9,467 has registered as being members of no party and 7,742 have registered as Democrats.
“We’ve had an increase of 32.7 percent of those being of no party affiliation,” Secretary of State Elections Director & Deputy Legal Counsel Donald Kersey said.
The final registration numbers for the Nov. 6 General Election will be out in the coming days. Tuesday was the final day to register to vote.
There are now more than 275,000 non-affiliated voters in the Mountain State, a number that’s been growing in recent years.
“I don’t know if it says much about the politics, it’s just that folks don’t necessarily align with the traditional politics of the recognized political parties so they are choosing not to be affiliated with any political party,” Kersey said.
As of Sept. 30, 42 percent of the state’s registered voters were Democrats, 32 percent Republicans and 22 percent non-affiliated.
Kersey said there’s also been a significant increase in the number of young adults registering to vote. Kersey said from the 2014 Primary Election to the 2018 Primary Election there was an increase of more than 10,000 registered voters who were 17 to 19 at the time they registered. The 17-year-olds turned 18 before the particular election.
The coming election will be the first general election since a major purging of the voter’s registration lists in the state’s 55 counties. It’s been an joint effort between Secretary of State Mac Warner and the county clerks, Kersey said.
“Since January 2017, the office has helped the county clerks remove just over 104,000 outdated voter registrations in the system. But also, since January 2017, 89,000 new registered voters are on the rolls,” Kersey said.
Kanawha County still has the most registered voters of any county at approximately 142,000 with Berkeley County at more than 77,000 registered voters. Monongalia County has the third highest registered voters at approximately 68,000.