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:
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|
by Pat Rynard