GOP voter registrations outpace Dems in swing states: report
The Republican Party has edged out the Democrats in the race to sign up new voters — and coronavirus lockdowns are to blame, a new report says.
New registrations cratered in the last three months, says TargetSmart, a Democratic data firm. In May of this year, 194,596 new voters were registered nationwide, according to TargetSmart’s report. That’s just 13 percent of the 1,490,631 who registered in May 2016.
In at least five battleground states, Democrats appear to have borne the brunt of the damage during the COVID-shutdown period.
In Maine, for example, 59 percent of new voters registered as Dems pre-coronavirus — but only 40 percent have done so in the months since.
Dem declines were also seen in Colorado, Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, TargetSmart found.
Additionally, in the swing state of Iowa, the new voters helped the GOP retake the statewide lead in voter registrations last month, Politico reported.
The new voters who did manage to send in applications were older and whiter than those who had been recruited before the pandemic hit. Voters in those demographic groups are expected to break for President Trump, rather than for Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden, in November.
Despite the recent registration decline, over the entire pre-election period Republicans “have doubled the amount of new voter registrations … than we did in the entire 2016 cycle,” RNC press secretary Mandi Merritt told The Post. GOP canvassers added nearly 4,000 new voters to the polls over the July 4th weekend, she said.
Voter registration drives, particularly in hotly contested swing states, are crucial pre-election battles. Both parties and their allied interest groups pour cash and staff time into the effort every election cycle.
COVID-19 was a “perfect, horrible storm in terms of undercutting registration efforts, and undercutting people’s ability to get registered,” Page Gardner of the Democrat-aligned Voter Participation Center told Politico.
“People like us can’t be out in the street with clipboards the way that we normally would be, and also DMVs are closed,” said Ben Wessel of NextGen America, another Dem-linked advocacy group.
Some partisans seem to be resorting to desperate measures — like sending a voter registration form to a long-deceased pet cat in Georgia this week.
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