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Nebraska sees drop in political party registrations in January

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 10:43 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -

Nebraska voter registration data shows more than 2,400 Republicans dropped their party registration during the month of January of this year, with more than 500 Republicans either changing or dropping their registration in Lancaster County alone.

The change seems to align with a national trend of voters leaving the party in January, during the same period where Americans saw an attack on the Capitol Building, an inauguration, and the second impeachment of former President Trump.

Nebraska also saw a reduction in the number of registered Democrats in the State in January, but at a far lower rate. There was a decrease of 401 registered Democrats in the State and a decrease of 2,429 Republicans. In Lancaster County, there was a decrease of 99 registered Democrats and a decrease of 506 Republicans. During the same period, the number of Libertarian and Nonpartisan voters increased.

The January drop in Republican voters followed months of increasing numbers leading up to the November election.

State and local election officials tell 10/11 NOW it’s not uncommon to see a reduction in registrations after an election, but the one-month reduction in the number of Republican voters was the largest for both the State and County since they started tracking monthly numbers in 2019, with the exception of a purge of long-inactive voters by the State in March of 2019. The change in January wasn’t due to a purge of old registrations, but because voters went to county offices to change their registrations, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

Change in Nebraska RegistrationsRepublicanDemocraticLibertarianNon-partisan
September 1st, 2020+5171+2195+472+1873
October 1st, 2020+8040+3455+782+1793
November 1st, 2020+7672+4395+696+2247
December 1st, 2020+1416-112+89-108
January 1st, 2021+185-130+180+1171
February 1st, 2021-2429-401+132+1298

There weren’t monthly records kept by the Secretary of State’s office following the 2016 Election, but numbers from November of 2016 to February of 2017 show 795 Democrats and 269 Republicans unregistered from their respective parties in the months after the election.

Lancaster County Election Commissioner Dave Shively said swings in voter registration can occur because of events in the news.

“Some change political parties when a major issue or something happens,” he said. “Whether it’s an issue that’s voted on in Congress or at our State Legislature or something like that, that’s maybe identified with one party or not and there are people who are upset with it.”

In Lancaster County, Republican voter registrations slightly outpaced Democratic registrations between August and December, before the swing between January and February.

“I always say, though things might change now, in six months it’s probably going to change in another direction,” Shively said. “I’ve seen that happen before.”

Change in Lancaster Co. RegistrationsRepublicanDemocraticLibertarianNon-partisan
September 1st, 2020+798+665+63+351
October 1st, 2020+1102+978+137+540
November 1st, 2020+1067+939+98+504
December 1st, 2020-15-47+7-142
January 1st, 2021+228+262+37+547
February 1st, 2021-506-99+22+208

“The only time your party affiliation really affects your ballot that you’ll receive on election day is in a partisan primary election like we had last May,” Shively said.

One of the biggest trends Shively has seen is a shift to higher percentages of Nonpartisan or third party registration. In 2020, Lancaster County saw were 4,673 new Democratic registrations, 4,104 new Republican registrations, 3,133 new non-partisan registrations, and 464 new Libertarian registrations. Nonpartisans grew faster than any part in the months following the election.

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