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Local voter registration inching up Increases in unaffiliated and GOP voters lead way

A movement by a Rowan County political group may have carried over past the 2014 party primaries, according to the latest batch of voter registration numbers.
The latest Rowan County totals show an increase in Republican and unaffiliated voters compared to 2014 primary numbers. Democratic registration is slightly less than in May.
Board of Elections Director Nancy Evans said several reasons could account for the changes. If voters choose to change party affiliation and don’t meet registration deadlines — April 11 for the 2014 primaries — the switch could be delayed, Evans said.
The La Resistance political group asked Democrats to switch affiliation to unaffiliated in April so they could vote in the Republican primary and oust Jim Sides, chairman of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.
The changes could also be a simple fluctuation, Evans said.
“It can vary at different times as far as how many people are registered,” she said.
Evans said presidential election years often mean higher registration.
Total voter registration for Rowan County was 91,895. Individual party registration was 37,227 Republicans, 30,272 Democrats, 24,178 unaffiliated and 218 Libertarians, according to Rowan County Board of Elections statistics.
When compared to just a few months ago, right before the May primaries, total registration is up by 354 — with unaffiliated numbers up by 375 and Republican registration up by 23.
Libertarian registration dropped by one and Democratic registration was down by 45.
Evans said that small decreases could be due to inactive voters being removed, which can take six to eight years.
Beyond the past few months, the largest change in recent history is the shift in unaffiliated registration since 2012.
It was up slightly from May to last week, but up by nearly 2,500 compared to 2012.
Despite individual party changes, total registration remains relatively stagnant over the past several years.
The last major difference, according to statistics, was the 2008 primaries, when total registration was 85,713 for the primary election.
Total registration is consistently lower in years prior to 2008, according to statistics.
Just under two months remain until the general election, but registration deadlines are quickly approaching.
The general election registration deadline is Oct. 10.
To mail in registration, forms must be postmarked no later than Oct. 10 and be valid application forms, which can be picked up at the county library or elections office, according to a news release.
You can also register in person at the Board of Elections, located in the Rowan County Administrative Offices building at 130 W. Innes St.
Absentee ballot applications became available on Sept. 5. The deadline for applying for an absentee ballot is 5 p.m. Oct. 28.
A news release from the elections board listed several early voting sites. None of the sites requires voters to live within a certain voting precinct.
Early voting sites include:
Rowan Public Library Headquarters, starting on Oct. 23 and ending on Nov. 1.
South Rowan library, starting on Oct. 24 and ending Oct. 31.
The Rockwell Legion Building from Oct. 24 to Oct. 31.
Spencer Municipal Building from Oct. 24 to Oct. 31.
Cleveland Town Hall from Oct. 24 to Oct. 31.
Each location has varying operating hours during weekdays, according to the release. All locations are closed on Sunday and open on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Only the Rowan Public Library Headquarters site will have voting on Nov. 1, the last Saturday before Election Day, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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