The political landscape in North Carolina is changing rapidly as the number of voters in the state registered as unaffiliated has increased sharply, and this may point to a larger trend of young voters choosing to distance themselves from the two major political parties.
Voter registration data from the North Carolina State Board of Elections shows that the number of unaffiliated voters increased by 12 percent from September 2016 to September 2018. Meanwhile, the number of registered Democrats decreased by 0.3 percent, and the number of registered Republicans increased by 3 percent.
Logan Smith, spokesperson for Progress North Carolina, said unaffiliated voters are not necessarily moderate or swing voters but voters who do not identify with either of the country’s two major parties.
“Just because someone is registered unaffiliated does not mean that they’re not politically active. I work in politics, and I’m registered unaffiliated,” he said. “Maintaining one’s independence and willingness to look at all options does not preclude one from being active as a voter and getting involved in the political process.”
Smith said millennials will overtake baby boomers as the largest generation in the United States next year. This means younger generations have a tremendous amount of political power, and they are already putting it to use by running for office, organizing communities and spearheading campus activism efforts.