Registration trends show deepening dissatisfaction with major parties

As North Carolina prepares for federal, state and local elections in 2024, emerging trends in partisan registration that began in late 2017 have proven persistent, with likely electoral consequences for both major parties. 

Some minority voters gain ground, others don’t

It’s no secret that North Carolina is growing, but as its population grows, the composition of its electorate is changing as well.

The rise of the unaffiliated voter

Early voting has started. In North Carolina and across the nation there are many close races that will likely be decided by just a few percentage points. That means the swing voters — those who don’t vote a straight party ticket but instead vote for the candidate based on their qualifications or perhaps even their personality — could very well be the difference in those tight races.

Clear trends emerge in partisan voter registration

Two years ago, The Smoky Mountain News took a look  at statistical data on the party affiliation of registered voters across the state and in the seven westernmost counties, from Jan. 1, 2016 through Jan. 1, 2020. It was great news for Republicans, and the exact opposite for Democrats.

We are Americans first

Diann Catlin • Guest Columnist | Every American should want and demand evidence as to the integrity of the recent 2020 election. Every American should be able to trust the integrity of a record that their own vote actually counted. If there is any way a foreign adversary or a homegrown activist manipulated any pathway so that the will of American people voting their choice is erased and outvoted by dead people or compromising machinery, every American should want to see the proof.

If you stay home, just keep quiet

If you don’t vote, then just shut up. You don’t even really deserve the right to be heard. Especially when you consider the treatment many in this country endured before — and after — they earned to right to vote.

Q&A with Rachel Clay

Rachel Clay is a voting rights activist. She works as the Southeast Regional Coordinator for the Campus Vote Project, a nonpartisan organization that works directly with colleges and universities to normalize and institutionalize student voting. Rachel is from Raleigh, she graduated from Appstate with B.A. 's in political science and women’s studies and she currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina. 

Suffrage was slow for Black voters

When the 19th Amendment passed in 1920, women throughout the nation began to vote for the first time. But for a long time, the rights granted in that amendment were realized mainly by white women. 

“Our ancestors, our forefathers, they were hurt because they had fought for suffrage too for the 19th Amendment, and it didn’t really do any good,” said Ellerna Forney, a Sylva native who is Black. “But they still kept fighting.”

For the Cherokee, disenfranchisement was locally controlled

In 1930, a young man named Henry Owl traveled to the Ravensford election precinct in Swain County to register to vote. 

Owl was a U.S. Army Veteran, and a college graduate. He held a master’s degree, in fact, having finished the UNC Chapel Hill graduate program in history the previous year. At Lenoir College, where he began his undergraduate studies in 1925, he was elected “Most Popular Boy” and competed as a star athlete in football and baseball, earning posthumous induction to the Lenoir-Rhyne Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. 

WCU works to engage student body

Students at Western Carolina University have helped hundreds of their fellow Catamounts register to vote in the 2020 election, and at the end of the day, they say it doesn’t matter whether they register to vote red or blue — just as long as they show up to cast a ballot. 

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