Fewer Democrats, more Republicans: a trend in all 13 Local 6 Kentucky counties

Traditionally, turnout for Kentucky primaries is low. That’s in part because the primary comes in the third week in May, long after there are clear front-runners.

In 2012, more than 15 percent turned out to vote. Four years earlier in 2008, it was 19 percent. And in 2000, when George W. Bush was nominated, turnout was about 11 percent.

The number of registered Republicans has gone up quite a bit. Their numbers climbed in the state between October and January by 18,000. Democrats, meanwhile, have lost 6,000 voters. And the trend holds in our area. McCracken County’s GOP voters grew by 650.

The trend holds in our area. McCracken County’s GOP voters increased by 650. Democrats lost 315 voters. Graves County Republicans grew by 400, and 347 left the Democratic Party. It’s the same story for all 13 local Kentucky counties. Deborah Collier wants to head to the polls on Saturday, but she didn’t meet the December deadline to register as a Republican. Now, she can only talk politics over lunch.

“To vote for the jailer, sheriff, or any of those jobs that meant something to me, I had to be a registered Democrat,” she said. To vote for most primaries in local offices, like in McCracken County, you would have to be a registered Democrat. But she says she’s not satisfied with the Democratic candidates that she has to choose from in May. “I don’t want either one of them,” Collier said.

This is a trend McCracken County Clerk Julie Griggs has seen a lot of recently. “The last week that we were open for 2015, I think we had about 250 people come in and change their party affiliation.”

Griggs isn’t sure if it’s the number of candidates on the ballot or the first presidential caucus Saturday for sure that’s driving voter increase in the GOP. “I think some of it definitely was the caucus, and I think some of it is just discontent,” Griggs said.

Michael Murphy with the McCracken County Democratic Party says he doesn’t look at this as a bad thing. He says anything that gets the population interested in the election is a good thing. He says a lot of people switch back and forth.

To see how your county measures up on the trend, check out the table below:

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