Headlines around the nations reveal that a sizeable number of voters are leaving the Republican party in the aftermath of the Capital riot on Jan. 6, and joining the Democratic party.

But in Charlotte, Sarasota and DeSoto counties, the biggest change is seen in those leaving the Republican party and registering as Independents or supporters of a minor party.

Charlotte County added 96 voters to its rolls since Jan. 11; as of Jan. 14, there were 151,693 registered voters in the county. As of Thursday, the number of registered Democrats rose by seven, the number of registered Republicans decreased by 80, and 229 more were categorized as “others,” according to the Charlotte County Supervisor of Elections website.

Charlotte County Elections Supervisor Paul Stamoulis, in an email to The Daily Sun, said that through Jan. 8, approximately 125 registered Republicans changed their party affiliation.

He said that most registered as no party affiliation, followed by Independent, and lastly, Democrat.

Sarasota County showed a similar trend as Charlotte County did, from Jan. 11 to Jan. 14. It added 201 voters to its rolls since Jan. 11, and on Jan. 14 there were 343,745 registered voters in the county. As of Thursday, registered Democrats rose by 41, while registered Republicans were down by 76. However, 236 more voters were registered as “others,” according to the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections website (sarasotavotes.com).

DeSoto County showed little change. Its registered voters totaled 18,005 on Jan. 14, which was up nine from Jan. 11. Over the four days the number of registered Democrats went down by four, while Republicans also slipped by two. However, in the “others” category, the number increased by 15.

Gene Murtha, chairman of the Republican Party of Charlotte County, said, “Just looking at the numbers for just a week isn’t an indicator of any trend.” He suggested that The Daily Sun look at the numbers from 2016 to 2020.

Data on the State of Florida Division of Elections website did reveal that Republicans have dominated in Charlotte and Sarasota counties for many years, but the ratio has been shifting since unrest at the Capitol.

Also, going back to 2018, when the state was providing data consistent with later years, the combined number of minor party and no party affiliations added to the registered Democrats’ number, eclipsed Republican registrations, showing that the dominant party could lose power should the majority of Independents decide to vote for Democrat candidates if public sentiment shifts significantly.

Those with no party affiliation could vote for either major party, however, and their number could very well determine an election.

For instance, in 2018 in Charlotte County, the combined number of those registered as “others” was 36,256. When added to registered Democrats, the number was 74,540, and if all voted Democratic, that would determine an election. That year there were 61,570 registered Republicans in Charlotte County. Added to the registered Republicans number, clearly the Republicans would take the election.

In Sarasota County in 2018, the combined number of those registered as belonging to a minor party or having no party affiliation, was 86,416. When added to the number of registered Democrats — 98,579 — the number was 184,995 against 136,685 registered Republicans that year.

In 2019, the state website showed that in Charlotte County, the combined number of those registered as belonging to a minor party or having no party affiliation was 40,642. When added to the number of registered Democrats — 38,442 — the number was 79,084 against 65,038 registered Republicans. But adding that number to the number of registered Republicans, the GOP candidates would prevail.

Sarasota County in 2019 had 98,702 registered Democrats and 136,019 Republicans. There was a total of 86,136 voters registered as either belonging to a minor party or who had no party affiliation.

Last year, the state showed that as of Nov. 30 in Charlotte County, there were 70,965 registered Republicans, 40,002 registered Democrats and a total of 42,223 voters who belonged to a minor party or had no party affiliation.

Sarasota County in 2020 as of Nov. 30, had 145,828 registered Republicans, 106,037 registered Democrats, and a total of 90,014 registered as either having no party affiliation or a member of a minor party.

Vinnie Treppiedi, assistant supervisor of election for Charlotte County, pointed out that a lot of events can affect numbers. For instance, she painted a scenario in which Trump supporters could leave the party because they didn’t like the way Republicans were treating Trump.

Also, people move in and out of Florida, which is a very transient state, so population is a driving factor, she pointed out.

Demographics, too, factor in, as if more residents of “blue” states move to Florida, that could increase the number of registered Democrats, while an influx of residents from “red” states would increase the number of registered Republicans.

Although it is still early to predict how recent events will affect voter registration going forward, The Daily Sun will provide periodic updates monitoring what seems to be the beginning of a trend developing in our readership area.


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