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Secretary Husted Releases Statewide Data on Voters who Changed Party Affiliation in 2016


March 15 Primary Voters who changed Parties

COLUMBUS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today released additional data compiled by his office showing the number of Ohioans who changed their party affiliation during the 2016 Presidential Primary Election.
In Ohio, voters do not register with a political party, but are instead affiliated with a political party by casting a ballot in a partisan primary election. Voters also have the option of remaining unaffiliated by casting an “issues only” ballot.

All told, over three times as many Democrats chose to affiliate with the Republican Party as did Republicans affiliate with the Democratic Party. A total of 1,197,725 voters cast a ballot in the Democratic Primary Election, 34,867 of whom were previously affiliated with the Republican Party, representing just 2.9 percent of all Democratic ballots cast. In contrast, 1,952,684 voters cast ballots in the Republican Primary, 115,762 of whom were previously affiliated with the Democratic Party, representing 5.9 percent of the total Republican vote cast.

The Republican Party had the biggest gains in terms of newly-affiliated voters, netting 1,030,752 overall, including 60,716 first-time voters. The Democratic Party netted 747,275 newly-affiliated voters during this election cycle, including 58,139 first-time voters.

“Voter turnout is driven by the enthusiasm and interest that groups and candidates can generate for their cause,” Secretary Husted said. “Nearly 1.8 million Ohioans decided to join or switch a political party, highlighting the intensity with which Ohioans are engaging this election season.”

Data released today outlines the number of voters statewide who changed their affiliation from one party to another, went from being unaffiliated to affiliated with a political party, or were previously affiliated with a party and are now unaffiliated. The data reflects a snapshot in time for the 2016 Primary Election and may not indicate future political leanings of Ohio voters.

Overall, there were 1,623,155 previously unaffiliated voters who chose to cast a partisan ballot and are now affiliated with a major or minor political party, with 910,131 now affiliated with the Republican Party and 710,067 now affiliated with the Democratic Party.

The Republican Party was not only the most common destination for voters who were previously unaffiliated, but also for those voters previously affiliated with the Constitution, Democratic, Libertarian and Natural Laws Parties.

Prior to the 2016 Presidential Primary, 810,949 voters were affiliated with the Democratic Party, 1,267,898 were affiliated with the Republican Party and 5,473,466 were unaffiliated. As a result of voters changing their affiliation in the primary election, there are now 1,440,700 voters affiliated with the Democratic Party, 2,260,799 affiliated with the Republican Party and 3,916,669 unaffiliated voters.

A voter’s political affiliation may only be modified by requesting an issues-only ballot or the ballot of a different political party during the next-available partisan primary election cycle.

March 15 Primary Voters Who Changed Their Party

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