Hundreds of Rowan County voters change their registration to unaffiliated since January

Since January, a total of 518 Democrat and Libertarian voters in Rowan County have switched their party registration, according to Rowan County Board of Elections officials.

Of that 518, the report indicates 475 of those Democrat and Libertarian voters switched to unaffiliated.

Only five Libertarians made the decision compared to 470 Democrats.

The period in which the changes for party affiliation were recorded ran from Jan. 1 to April 11 – the last day to register.

Rowan County Elections Specialist Laura Russell said elections officials have seen a significantly larger number of people changing affiliations this year versus the 2010 election, when 312 people were recorded to have switched.

“The influx of party changes indicates that there is a strong push for more political involvement. This could increase the number of voters on Election Day, which is a good thing. With elections, part of our job is to make sure citizens have the right tools to be involved,” Russell said. “When we see more registrations coming in or updates to registrations, we can only hope that more people are getting involved in the entire election process.”

Regardless of their former or current party, a total of 674 Rowan County voters were recorded to have switched affiliations in the little over three months.

The county has 91,632 voters registered in 45 precincts.

Of that total, 37,235 are Republicans, 30,359 are Democrats and 23,821 are unaffiliated.

When there is a low turnout, Russell said fewer voters end up choosing the leaders for the entire county.

“When we have more voters turning out, there is more opportunity for voters to make a choice. We can never predict what an outcome will be because we never know what voters are going to choose,” Russell said. “All we can hope for is that more people get involved in the process.”

Contact reporter Jim Holt at 704-797-4246.

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