AP NEWS

GOP gains registered voters in WVa, still lags behind Dems

January 5, 2020 GMT

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) — Registered Republican voters in West Virginia have increased since Donald Trump won office but still lags behind Democrats entering a presidential election year, according to voter registration figures from the secretary of state’s office.

Overall registration numbers in West Virginia have fallen as residents continue to leave the state and elections officials removed invalid registrations, The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register reported.

There were 488,148 registered Democrats in the state at the end of December, a 14.5% drop since November 2016. Meanwhile, there was a 3.2% increase in registered Republicans to 411,872 since the election of Trump, according to secretary of state figures.

There also were 278,851 registered voters without a party affiliation, a 4.4% jump from the 2016 election.

In 2016, despite registered Democrats far outnumbering Republicans in West Virginia, the state gave Trump his largest margin of victory — 42 percentage points.

But the state has lost 83,119 registered Democrats since then and there are 32,393 fewer Democrats registered in the past year. GOP registrations have increased by 13,325 since Trump’s election and by 5,540 over the past year.

The overall number of registered voters in West Virginia was 1.225 million at the end of December, down 4 percent from 1.277 million in November 2016.

West Virginia’s population has fallen for seven straight years. The state lost more than 12,000 people from 2018 to 2019.