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More Florida voters are registering as NPA, but whether they'll vote remains to be seen

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Thomas Iacobucci
/
WUSF Public Media
University of North Florida political science professor Michael Binder said Republicans have been steadily out-registering Democrats in Florida this election cycle, but more voters are registering as No Party Affiliation.

A political science professor said Republicans have been steadily out-registering Democrats in Florida this election cycle, while more voters are registering No Party Affiliation. The question is whether they'll turn out to vote.

With the window to register to vote in Florida's Nov. 8 general election closing on Oct. 11, the question becomes whether Republicans or Democrats gained in numbers.

One analyst said it might be neither.

University of North Florida political science professor Michael Binder said Republicans have been steadily out-registering Democrats in Florida this election cycle.

But, he added, the real wild card is the increase in the number of people registering NPA — No Political Affiliation.

"Do those NPA's actually show up to vote is a different question," Binder said. "And, then, those NPAs — if they do show up to vote — which party are they voting for? And those are different questions that are in the yet-to-be determined category."

Binder said the number of NPA registrations increased in Republican counties, such as Pinellas, and Democratic counties, including Hillsborough.

"Both of those counties, it's been a lot of NPAs," Binder said. "And, we're seeing that not only in that portion of the state, the Tampa market, but across the state. NPAs are really being registered more and more."

The Florida Trend website reports that in the past two decades, NPA registrations in Florida have increased from 16 percent of registered voters to 27 percent, an increase of about 2.4 million.

In addition, Florida Trend found that while NPA's outnumber registered Republicans in 5 counties — Broward, Miami-Dade, Orange, Osceola and Palm Beach; they outnumber registered Democrats in 12 counties — Bay, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Lee, Martin, Nassau, Okaloosa, Pasco, Santa Rosa and Walton.

While the total numbers of Florida voters, along with registered Republican, NPA, and minor party voters have all increased since the 2018 midterms, registered Democrats were down slightly. The Florida Division of Elections figures were as of August 31 — before registration for the general election closed.

YEARRegistered Republican Party (FL) votersRegistered Democratic Party (FL) votersNo Party Affiliation
20225,233,3664,963,7223,939,389
20184,718,7204,975,8953,588,518
% change+10.9%-0.2%+9.8%

YEARMinor PartiesTotal
2022258,80414,395,281
2018113,48913,396,622
% change+128.0%+7.5%

Source: Florida Division of Elections

Binder said Hurricane Ian could also come into play on Election Day.

If no changes are made to accommodate voters in the most affected areas where some polling places were damaged, Binder said, that could drive down voter participation in Republican-heavy counties such as Lee and Charlotte.

On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis extended early in-person voting by up two days in those two counties, as well as Sarasota County.

I started my journalism career delivering the Toledo Blade newspaper on my bike.
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