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Unaffiliated voters exceed registered Democrats, Republicans in NC

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Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 8:37 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -Historically, most North Carolinians are registered as Democrats or Republicans. Now unaffiliated voters are the majority in NC.

According to the North Carolina State Board of Elections, 2.5 million North Carolinians are registered as unaffiliated voters, outnumbering the 2.4 million Democrats and 2.1 million Republicans.

ECU junior Melody Martinez is one of the many unaffiliated voters.

“I think it’s the safest option in the generation we’re in right now. I see both sides perfectly. Sometimes I agree sometimes I disagree. I think it’s just safe to stay in the middle.”

What’s the advantage of being unaffiliated? ECU Political science professor Peter Francia says the flexibility of it can be appealing.

“If you’re a registered Republican you cannot vote in the Democratic primary,” Francia said. “If you’re a registered Democrat, you can’t vote in the Republican primary. If you’re an unaffiliated voter, you have the option to choose on primary day which party primary they wish to vote in.”

Francia says the root of this division doesn’t stem from recent elections. It began nearly two decades ago.

“You can go back all the way to the Bill Clinton presidency to start seeing real evidence of the electorate being more polarized.”

The last time North Carolina saw an increase in unaffiliated voters was in 1988. That’s the year the Republican party opened its primaries to unaffiliated voters.

The last day to register to vote is April 22.

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