Republicans Are Winning the Voter Registration Battle in Battleground States

Republicans Are Winning the Voter Registration Battle in Battleground States

(Illustration by The Epoch Times, Shutterstock)

Austin Alonzo

Austin Alonzo

5/23/2024

Updated: 5/28/2024

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Republicans are closing the gap on voter registrations in key swing states. Political observers say it could be a sign that the party will perform well in November.
The gap between registered voters in the Democratic Party and Republican Party shrank significantly in Pennsylvania, Nevada, and North Carolina, according to voter registration statistics collected in April.
Taking the combined voter totals in the three states, Republicans have eroded the Democratic registration advantage by more than 54 percent between 2019 and 2024.
In Arizona, a fourth critical state, Republicans extended their lead in registered voters by more than 71 percent during the same period.
The four states are among the most prized possessions in presidential politics. Collectively, they represent 52 electoral votes. In 2020, Joe Biden carried all except North Carolina. In 2016, Donald Trump took all but Nevada.
The registration trends don’t necessarily mean Republicans will sweep the states, but they’re a sign that the GOP will be able to more easily target and turn out its voters in those states than it did in 2020.
“On balance, you'd certainly rather have more registrations in your direction than the other direction,” Daniel Hopkins, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics, told The Epoch Times.

Pennsylvania

The largest numerical shift occurred in the Keystone State, where the Democrat lead has shrunk by some 400,000 votes since May 2019.
In May 2019, more than 4 million were registered as Democrats, and about 3.2 million were registered Republicans, according to voter registration data collected by the Pennsylvania Department of State.
By the end of April, almost 3.9 million Pennsylvanians were registered as Democrats, and nearly 3.5 million were registered as Republicans. 
During the same period, the total number of registered voters increased to more than 8.7 million from nearly 8.5 million. The electorate registered with the Libertarian Party or “other parties,” as the state identifies them, remained relatively stable at 1.2 million during the same period.
Along with the rematch between President Biden and President Trump, Pennsylvania voters will consider a Senate race crucial to the balance of power in Washington. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) will square off against Republican businessman Dave McCormick.
Election volunteers prepare mail-in ballots for scanning at the Lancaster County Government Center in Lancaster, Pa., on April 23, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Election volunteers prepare mail-in ballots for scanning at the Lancaster County Government Center in Lancaster, Pa., on April 23, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Mr. Hopkins said the seismic change in voter registration could be linked to a growing number of what he called “ancestral Democrats” in rural Pennsylvania either falling off the rolls or registering with another party. These moderate voters are just as likely to vote Democratic as Republican, he predicted.
Nevertheless, he said the statistics indicate that the state’s voters are moving toward the right and that there is more parity in the electorate than in previous cycles. This aligns with the Republican Party’s growing appeal with white, high-school-educated voters, he said.
Pennsylvania GOP chairman Lawrence Tabas said erasing the voter registration deficit is a “top priority” in the state.
Mr. Tabas said volunteers are knocking on doors and making phone calls in an effort to register more Republican voters.
“So far this year, all 67 counties have registered more Republican voters than any other party,” Mr. Tabas said in a statement provided to The Epoch Times. 
“These numbers, coupled with our mail-in ballot increases, are sure to help set up Republican victories in all regions of the Commonwealth this November.”
Representatives of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.

North Carolina

The biggest percentage change occurred in the Tarheel State, and the most significant statistic is that unaffiliated voters now exceed those of either major party.
The unaffiliated electorate grew to about 2.7 million members from about 2.2 million between April 2019 and April 2024, and the overall registered voter tally increased to 7.4 million from 6.8 million.
In the same time period, the number of registered Republicans rose to about 2.2 million from about 2 million and the number of registered Democrats fell to 2.4 million from about 2.5 million, according to statistics collected by the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
Overall, the gap between party registrations diminished by 62 percent during that five-year period.
“Growth in ... unaffiliated registration could be seen as dissatisfaction with the major parties or a preference against that identification,” said Jon Green, an assistant professor of political science at Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences.
“That certainly reflects a low enthusiasm, but may or may not reflect a change in behavior.”
Ultimately, the unaffiliated vote will decide the statewide races, he told The Epoch Times.
North Carolinians will pick a new governor in the fall. Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat who was first elected in 2016, isn’t seeking a third term in office. Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, a Republican, is running against North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat.

(Top) People check in for early voting at a polling location in Charlotte, N.C., on Nov. 5, 2022. (Bottom L) North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson speaks at a Trump campaign rally in Selma, N.C., on April 9, 2022. (Bottom R) North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein speaks in front of the Supreme Court in Washington on Dec. 7, 2022. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images, Allison Joyce/Getty Images, Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)(Top) People check in for early voting at a polling location in Charlotte, N.C., on Nov. 5, 2022. (Bottom L) North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson speaks at a Trump campaign rally in Selma, N.C., on April 9, 2022. (Bottom R) North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein speaks in front of the Supreme Court in Washington on Dec. 7, 2022. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images, Allison Joyce/Getty Images, Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

(Top) People check in for early voting at a polling location in Charlotte, N.C., on Nov. 5, 2022. (Bottom L) North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson speaks at a Trump campaign rally in Selma, N.C., on April 9, 2022. (Bottom R) North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein speaks in front of the Supreme Court in Washington on Dec. 7, 2022. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images, Allison Joyce/Getty Images, Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

Matt Mercer, director of communications for the North Carolina Republican Party, told The Epoch Times that his organization built “an effective state party through the tireless work of the activists and volunteers across the state.”
“As Republicans have won supermajorities in the General Assembly, flipped the NC Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, and won over 60 [percent] of statewide races since 2016, our state has become attractive for families and businesses,” Mr. Mercer said.
“We have more Republicans than ever serving at the local level: school boards, county commissions, and municipalities which have served as one of our best recruitment tools: Republicans are governing effectively in North Carolina.”
Representatives of the North Carolina Democratic Party didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.

Nevada

The greatest total growth in voter registration occurred in the Silver State. Overall registration grew by one-third to more than 2.3 million registered voters in April 2024 from about 1.7 million in April 2019, according to Nevada secretary of state statistics. 
During that period, the number of registered Republicans rose to about 654,000 from more than 573,000. The number of Democratic voters grew at a slower pace, to more than 708,000 from more than 669,000.

There are still about 54,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in Nevada, but the party’s advantage has fallen by about 43 percent in the past five years.
Nevertheless, the number of registered nonpartisan voters now eclipses the totals amassed by both parties. In April, more than 794,000 Nevadans were registered as nonpartisans—nearly twice the 395,000 nonpartisan voters reported in April 2019.
In November, Nevada voters will decide whether Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) will get another term on Capitol Hill. The Nevada primary will be held on June 11. Currently, Sam Brown, a decorated U.S. Army veteran and small-business owner, is the leading GOP candidate.
Mr. Green said competitive primaries tend to drive voter registration for a particular party.
Because Nevada is one of the earliest states to hold a presidential preference primary, some voters may have registered as Republicans to vote in the Feb. 8 GOP presidential caucus. More voters could join the Republican ranks to cast a ballot in the June primary.
Most of the state’s residents live near Las Vegas, making the electorate more urban and likely more liberal than other battleground states, Mr. Hopkins said. Nevada hasn’t supported a Republican for president since President George W. Bush took it in 2004.
Representatives of the Nevada Republican Party, the Nevada State Democratic Party, the North Carolina Republican Party, and the North Carolina Democratic Party didn’t respond to requests for comment from The Epoch Times.

(Top) Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria (R) takes questions at a news conference on the ongoing election process in north Las Vegas on Nov. 9, 2022. (Bottom L) U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) waits to speak during a groundbreaking ceremony in Las Vegas on April 22, 2024. (Bottom R) Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sam Brown campaigns at a parade in Gardnerville, Nev., on June 11, 2022. (Mario Tama/Getty Images, Ethan Miller/Getty Images, David Calvert/Getty Images)(Top) Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria (R) takes questions at a news conference on the ongoing election process in north Las Vegas on Nov. 9, 2022. (Bottom L) U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) waits to speak during a groundbreaking ceremony in Las Vegas on April 22, 2024. (Bottom R) Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sam Brown campaigns at a parade in Gardnerville, Nev., on June 11, 2022. (Mario Tama/Getty Images, Ethan Miller/Getty Images, David Calvert/Getty Images)

(Top) Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria (R) takes questions at a news conference on the ongoing election process in north Las Vegas on Nov. 9, 2022. (Bottom L) U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) waits to speak during a groundbreaking ceremony in Las Vegas on April 22, 2024. (Bottom R) Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sam Brown campaigns at a parade in Gardnerville, Nev., on June 11, 2022. (Mario Tama/Getty Images, Ethan Miller/Getty Images, David Calvert/Getty Images)

Arizona

As with Nevada, the total registered voter count in the Grand Canyon State has increased sharply over the past five years.
The total number of registered voters rose to more than 4 million in April 2024 from nearly 3.8 million in April 2019, according to Arizona secretary of state data.
Between April 2019 and April 2024, the Republican Party grew its registration advantage over its rival party by 71 percent. There were more than 1.4 million registered Republican voters in April, from more than 1.3 million in April 2019.
Total Democrat registrations remained nearly flat and currently sit at nearly 1.2 million.
Registrants choosing “other” rose to almost 1.4 million from nearly 1.3 million during the same five-year period.
In 2020, Arizona went blue for the first time since President Bill Clinton won the state in 1996. Mr. Hopkins said that likely reflects the changing demographics in the state. For generations, Arizona was a safely Republican state.
Things are changing in the Southwest, however. Democrats won statewide elections in 2018, 2020, and 2022. With Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) not seeking reelection in 2024, there will be a pitched battle for her seat in the Senate.
Both parties will hold their statewide primaries on July 30. Currently, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) and Republican Kari Lake are the leading candidates for their respective parties. Ms. Lake, a former Phoenix television news anchor, narrowly lost the governor’s race to Gov. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, in 2022.
The Republican Party of Arizona declined to comment. Representatives of the Arizona Democratic Party did not respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.
(Left) Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) holds a press conference in Tempe, Ariz., on March 14, 2023. (Right) Kari Lake, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, arrives at the Trump caucus night party in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 15, 2024. (Rebecca Noble/AFP via Getty Images, Alex Wong/Getty Images)(Left) Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) holds a press conference in Tempe, Ariz., on March 14, 2023. (Right) Kari Lake, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, arrives at the Trump caucus night party in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 15, 2024. (Rebecca Noble/AFP via Getty Images, Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(Left) Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) holds a press conference in Tempe, Ariz., on March 14, 2023. (Right) Kari Lake, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, arrives at the Trump caucus night party in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 15, 2024. (Rebecca Noble/AFP via Getty Images, Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Trump Factor

Mr. Hopkins said he expects every battleground state to undergo intense campaigning in the next six months and narrow margins of victory in November.
With the Republican Party gaining ground in all four states, their voter registration gains could turn into a crucial tool during the final months of the campaign.
The elections will ultimately come down to turnout. Both the Democrats and the Republicans want to know who their voters are and convince them to show up on Election Day.
Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Green said registration is an asset for each party since it makes voter identification much simpler. It’s easier to get a reliable partisan to the polls than to convince an unaffiliated voter to pick a side, they said.
President Trump’s presence on the ballot may be another credit in the GOP’s account in 2024. Conventional political wisdom dictates that when voter turnout is high, Democrats win. That’s changing.
“Donald Trump, when he is on the ballot, higher turnout can sometimes mean there are more Trump supporters,” Mr. Hopkins said. 
That will favor down-ballot Republicans, too, he said.
“But then the question is,” he said, “are they going to be counterbalanced as so often happens in politics, by some number of registered Republicans who say, ‘I am a Republican, but I can’t vote for Trump?’”
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Austin Alonzo

Austin Alonzo

Author

Austin Alonzo covers U.S. political and national news for The Epoch Times. He has covered local, business and agricultural news in Kansas City, Missouri, since 2012. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri. You can reach Austin via email at austin.alonzo@epochtimes.us

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