More County Voters Opting Out Of Two-Party Politics

MAYVILLE – While Chautauqua County voter enrollment is more Republican for the first time in 10 years, the number of people registering as non-affiliated or with other parties is up quite a bit.
Norman P. Green, Democratic Commissioner of Elections, told WNYNewsNow that new GOP enrolled voters overtook Democrats on April 1 for the first time since 2008.
Republicans added 469 new voters and Democrats added 424. The biggest jump however was in new voters not joining either of the two major parties. This year 601 voters have registered as non-affiliated and 149 have joined other parties.
“It’s continuing to  be a Republican county. The interesting thing is we normally haven’t seen this many non-affiliated voters,” Green said. “Normally its pretty equal, and it is right now between Dems and Republicans, but non-affiliated voters, it seems people are now shying away from joining one of the two major parties.”
Asked what Republicans and Democrats can do to change the trend, Green said voters are angry with both parties.
“I think it’s bigger than us. We’re seeing a declining participation in elections. We see people interested in the presidential elections but most people at the national level say, ‘The only thing I’m concerned about is the President of the United States,’ number one and, number two, the only other thing they’re saying is both of the parties don’t work so they’re mad at both of us,” he said.
“One of the two parties needs to do a better job as being seen as the inclusive party that everyone’s happy with.”
Presidential politics tends to have a coat-tail impact on registration numbers, Green explained.
“When your President of the United States is Republican and, particularly when they first get elected and are most popular, then usually you see Republicans, but a national issue right now is the rural areas are becoming more Republican and the urban areas are becoming more Democratic. It’s becoming a country of city versus rural,” he said, adding rural versus urban is not a new factor in our nation and was this way in the 1800’s and is returning to that.
Presidential elections continue to have more participation than local races yet have the least day-to-day impact on local events, Green explained.
“It’s always been the highest voter turnout in the presidential cycle and the President has the least amount to do with Chautauqua County,” Green responded. “The President of the United States probably barely knows where Chautauqua County is, and the only reason he does know is he’s a New York State person.”