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Pennsylvania Voters Jumping Parties, In Record Numbers, Before April 26 Primary

As this is the first year that voter registration can be done online, in Pennsylvania, many voters are reporting they want to vote in the upcoming primary, and they wanted to switch their party affiliation to do so.


Here’s how it’s breaking down for the parties.

The latest statistics this week from Pennsylvania’s elections bureau show more than 214,000 registered voters have switched this year. That amounts to 3 percent of the state’s 8.2 million registered voters. Carbon County is among the state’s hot spots.

And Republicans are the big winners in the switching contest.

Among those making a switch, about half became Republicans, according to state statistics as of Monday. One-third became Democrats and the rest — about one-eighth — joined a minor party or registered as unaffiliated.

Those trends held true in Lehigh and Northampton counties, where party-switchers favored the Republican Party roughly by a two-to-one margin, according to state data.

So far this year, 1,862 Lehigh County Democrats have switched to the Republican Party, while 727 Republicans became Democrats. In Northampton County, the trend was even more pronounced, with 2,247 Democrats becoming Republicans and 783 switching from the GOP to the Democratic Party.

And while many past elections have been about voting against someone, rather than for someone, ….

While some of the Republican gains might have to do with Democratic Party voters feeling abandoned by their party, most of it probably relates to Donald Trump‘s candidacy, said Bill Heydt, chairman of the Lehigh County Republican Party.

“I think it is more love than hate going on,” Heydt said. “You know, Trump asks questions people want to hear, and nobody has been asking them or answering them either. I think it has opened a whole new window for people who are tired of the status quo.”

Even in strong Democrat counties, Republicans are seeing an increase in their numbers.

“The increases we are seeing in the Valley and across Pennsylvania are largely in line with expectations,” said Chris Borick, a Muhlenberg College political science professor. “The larger increases for Republicans reflect the very high level of interest in that race and the looming showdown headed to Pennsylvania next month.”

As of Tuesday, 108,650 people are registered as Democrats and 75,862 are registered as Republicans in Lehigh County, according to county documents. That marked an increase of 3,033, or 2.9 percent, more Democrats and 3,624, or 5 percent, more Republicans than were registered for last year’s municipal election.

Read the full article at The Morning Call.

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