There are now more New York voters who decided to not enroll in a party than there are registered Republicans in the state, newly released numbers from the state Board of Elections show.
The numbers, released Monday, show there are 2,744,859 active Republicans in New York compared to 2,750,309 active voters who did not enroll in party. Democrats now have more than six million registered voters in the state.
Republican enrollment since November 2016 has increased by 96,017 voters. But the number of people choosing to not enroll in a party has increased at more than double the rate since 2016, with 273,401 more voters not enrolled in a party.
Democratic enrollment, however, has grown even faster in the last four years, with the party ranks increasing by 524,122 voters.
New York allows voters to register as Democrats, Republicans, Conservative, Working Families, Libertarian, Green Party or with the Independence Party. For voters who do not wish to enroll in a party, they can choose to be counted as unenrolled or “blank” voters.
Overall there are now 886,639 more active voters in New York than there were four years ago.
The trendline for New York, a deeply blue state, is not surprising given the political shift over the last 20 years. Republicans once held power in the state Senate, the attorney general’s office, re-elected a governor three times, a New York City mayor twice and held one of two U.S. Senate seats.
Now the party has not won statewide since 2002, lost control of the state Senate in 2018 and could see further erosion among its congressional delegation in upstate and suburban districts after voting ends on Tuesday.
Much of the state’s leftward tilt is attributable to the domination of New York City. But downstate suburban communities have also played a role in the state becoming a solidly Democratic one.
Consider the two Long Island counties, suburban areas where Republicans have appealed to voters on issues like crime and taxes.
Suffolk County, which President Donald Trump won in 2016, has seen an increase in Democratic enrollment of 44,048 voters since then. Republicans over that same period saw an increase of only 17,977 new GOP voters.
In Nassau County, once a seat of Republican power, Democrats now hold a 88,011 voter enrollment advantage over the GOP. Republican enrollment in the county which was catapulted Al D’Amato to statewide office has decreased by 19,158 voters over the last four years.
Party indentification does not spell party discipline. Increasingly political parties are not the centralized powerhouses they once were and New York voters are known to split their votes, backing a Democratic presidential candidate and a Republican candidate running further down the ballot.