For Rowan, 2020 general election turnout statistics mostly mirror 2016

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 27, 2020

By Natalie Anderson

SALISBURY — While Rowan County this year the highest general election turnout since the 1984 presidential race, most of the statistics and demographics among voters mirror those of the previous election.

Rowan County experienced the highest voter turnout on record this year when 75.59% of the 97,443 registered voters cast a vote in the 2020 general election. By contrast, in 2016, 67.9% of the 95,197 registered voters cast a vote.

Another notable difference between the two years was that Black voters made up a smaller portion of the votes cast.

While 55,329 of the votes cast were by white Rowan Countians, Black voters accounted for 9,912, or 13.5%, of the votes cast, according to the Rowan County Board of Elections. That’s a decrease from the percent of eligible of Black voters who cast a ballot in 2016 — when they comprised 15% of the overall votes cast.

Currently, Black residents make up 16.9% of the overall population in Rowan County. In 2016, they comprised 16% of the overall population, according to U.S. Census data.

Additionally, there were 276 votes cast by Asian voters in the 2020 election. The number of Asian voters is not included on the 2016 general election voter statistics by precinct data sheet.

Data also show the southern portion of the county, particularly the China Grove area, saw some of the highest level of turnout overall this year. During the early voting period, more people cast a vote there than at the Rowan County Board of Elections voting site, located at 1935 Jake Alexander W. Blvd. And based on final results, precinct 5A, which had its voting site located at the China Grove Community Building, saw the most votes cast of any location — 2,832 ballots by the end of Election Day.

More Republicans cast votes in all but eight of the 41 precincts this year. Democrats’ biggest turnout in and around the center of Salisbury.

In the 2016 general election, more than half of the votes cast were among women. Likewise, women account for the plurality of votes cast in the 2020 general election — 36,402 women as compared to 31,406 men.

However, the number of voters who didn’t designate themselves as male or female increased by more than 800%. Those voters made up 5,846 of all votes cast compared to just 597 in 2016.

While the number of votes cast from Republican and unaffiliated voters increased, the rate of turnout among registered Republican, Democrat and unaffiliated voters mirrors that of 2016. This year, Republicans accounted for 47% of all votes cast, and they accounted for 46% of the votes cast in 2016.

Unaffiliated voters in 2020 comprise the next largest voting block behind Republicans. They comprised 26% of the turnout in 2016 and 28% of the votes cast in 2020.

However, the turnout rate was lower among Democrats this time around. While they comprised 24% of the votes cast in 2020, they accounted for 28% of the votes cast in 2016.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at or call her at 704-797-4246.

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