New voters in Kentucky move away from traditional parties
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The number of Kentucky voters who are not registered as a Republican or a Democrat has reached a new high, breaking beyond the 10% mark for the first time.
Registered Republicans still lead over Democrats by 1%, but when it comes to younger voters, analysts say they are not as quick to choose a side.
In what is already shaping up to be an interesting political season in Kentucky, the changing landscape of how voters align politically is an added layer as more turn away from registering as a Republican or a Democrat.
“This could really mean something for the politics of this state,” said Lexington Herald-Leader political writer Austin Horn. “This could mean that we have a decent chunk of people who are truly disaffected with both parties.”
Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams says political candidates should take notice of this trend, adding there is now a larger base of voters to sway.
“I think what we’re seeing right now is just there has been such a dedication to this identity politics, and we’ve seen just unprecedented polarization as a result of this identity politics,” said Brittany Strube of the League of Women Voters’ of Lexington. “We’re seeing that youth are really more focused on values and on issues.”
The League of Women Voters’ says while white voters are skewing more independent, Black and Latino voters are still registering more as Democrats.
“Youth voters have a lot more power than they think that they do. They’re one of the largest voting blocs that we have,” said Strube.
Kentucky is a closed primary state, meaning voters not registered Republican or Democrat can’t participate in the May primary. So the real impacts they would have on elections won’t be known until the general election in November.
“This really feeds into what we kind of know about primaries and that it’s older voters who are much more engaged on this level,” said Horn. “We already know older voters tend to vote in general more often. But older voters tend to vote way more often in primaries.”
The last day to register to vote in the May primary is April 17.
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