The Iowa Secretary of State’s office released the new voter registration totals this morning. Iowa gained 36,809 new registered voters in the month of October. There were 10,296 new registered Democrats, 9,622 new registered Republicans and 15,112 new registered No Party voters.

The advantage of the new No Party voters shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the trend particularly with young voters is to not align themselves with a specific party. Most of the new registrations came in counties with college campuses.

Registering new voters is typically not a major focus of Iowa campaigns, or at least not compared to operations in other states. Iowa has one of the highest percentages of its population registered to vote. Most of the new registrations in Iowa in October come from early voting sites where campaigns get people to both newly register and vote at the same time.

Here’s the top 15 counties for new registrations:

County Democrat Republican No Party Other Total
Polk  2,488  1,395  2,259  327  6,469
Johnson  1,387  541  1,569  136  3,633
Linn  1,190  634  1,643  155  3,622
Story  557  224  1,319  91  2,191
Scott  302  353  925  90  1,670
Black Hawk  655  543  144  66  1,408
Dallas  709  480  97  41  1,327
Pottawattamie  249  367  535  79  1,230
Woodbury  302  341  443  53  1,139
Dubuque  396  576  -134  41  879
Warren  140  178  382  20  720
Winneshiek  121  66  340  16  543
Muscatine  72  76  219  29  396
Marion  44  118  204  23  389
Clinton  48  99  199  27  373

The three main student counties of Johnson, Story and Black Hawk are all in the top six. Several private universities may account for the boosts in some of the smaller counties like Warren (Simpson College), Winneshiek (Luther College) and Marion (Central College), especially since they all had a large number of new No Party registrations.

Something seems off in a few counties like Dubuque, where No Party registrations actually decreased. It’s possible some of these counties moved some voters to inactive status on their lists.

Polk County is one of the few where new Democratic registrations outnumber the No Party ones, as is Dallas County. Their particularly strong showing likely correlates with their good early vote numbers.

However, these totals are actually down from new registrations in October of 2012. That year there were 43,413 new voters registered in October, 6,604 more than this year. And Democrats did better then, totaling 9,492 more registered Democrats than newly registered Republicans. This year Democrats only best Republicans in October by 674 new registrations. And Republicans registered more people this year than they did in 2012.

Here’s a comparison:

October 2012 increase October 2016 increase Diff
Dem 16,759 10,296 -6,463
GOP 7,267 9,622 2,355
NP 19,387 15,112 -4,275

 

by Pat Rynard
Posted 11/1/16

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