The focus on voter registration this year seems to be paying off locally—for Democrats anyway. Since early February, 14,415 new voters have registered in Buncombe County, according to statistics released Oct. 21 by the Board of Elections. The vast majority (98 percent) of those new voters registered as either Democrats (7,355) or unaffiliated (6,765). A mere 186 new voters registered as Republicans.
The new numbers show a total of 173,823 registered voters in Buncombe County, compared with 159,408 as of early February—a roughly 9 percent increase.
In February, there were 69,956 registered Democrats, 49,023 registered Republicans and 40,429 unaffiliated voters. Now there are 77,311 registered Democrats, 49,209 registered Republicans and 47,194 voters unaffiliated with either party. There are also 109 registered Libertarian voters. Both nationally and locally, the Democratic Party has focused on registering new voters in this election cycle.
Some of that jump, however, could be due to the fiercely fought Democratic primary that North Carolina saw earlier this year, noted Board of Elections Director Trena Parker. While the comparable period in 2004 saw fewer new voter registrations overall (about 12,000), the biggest increase came between the end of the primary and the general election. This year, approximately 9,000 new registrations have come in since the primary.
Although the deadline for voter registration was Oct. 10, residents can still register—and vote—at early voting locations. Early voting is available at 15 locations around the county until 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1.