CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Since Donald Trump first took office in January, hundreds of people have gone into the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections to change their party affiliation.
But as controversial as Trump can be at times, he may not be the reason why “unaffiliated” is now the second-most popular party affiliation.
Director of Elections Michael Dickerson says the number of party affiliation changes is an indication that something is going on but he says it has only affected hundreds of people out of 700,000 registered voters in the county.
“So when I am talking less than a couple of thousand, I don’t say it's huge but you do have folks changing parties," he said.
Here are the numbers:
- 899 Democrats switched to unaffiliated and 868 Democrats switched to unaffiliated.
- On the Republican side, 213 Democrats switched to Republican and 312 unaffiliated voters became Republican.
- 194 Republicans became Democrats and 79 Republicans switched to Unaffiliated.
“The big thing that stands out to me is how most people are registering now as unaffiliated voters," Dickerson said.
Dickerson can’t say what’s in the minds of those who change affiliation.
Is it Donald Trump? Is it events like Charlottesville?
It could also be the fact that Mayor Jennifer Roberts is up for re-election in a city that has gone through the economic loss of HB2 and a deadly officer-involved shooting that touched off days of demonstrations and in some cases, riots.
When people want change, Dickerson said, it often begins with a change of party affiliation.
“It’s a way of making a voice for themselves and that is part of what all this process is about," he said. "They are making a voice for change and they are going out to vote."