Did the AP Make Up Party Registration Data for Voters in 12 States

It’s complicated, but they chased a 1 million voter headline, not the facts

Kristle Chester
Politically Speaking

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Democratic and Republican logos at loggerheads
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

According to the Associated Press (AP), voter-registration data from 43 states shows that over 1 million Democrats changed their party registration to Republican. That’s interesting and crazy and just plain bad reporting. Only 31 states and the District of Columbia register voters by party. Nineteen states don’t.

Do the math.

In its analysis published on June 27, 2022, the AP claimed changes in voter registration by party for 12 states that do not use it. They only named 11 of these 43 states, leaving the remaining 32 unknown. Six of the ones specifically mentioned— Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, Ohio, Virginia, and Washington State — in their article do not register voters by party. Yet, CNBC, The Daily Beast, Axios, The New York Post, Fox News, and countless local news outlets all seized on the AP’s headline and republished its findings.

I’m not surprised. Most news outlets tout party registration as a universal fact of life in the US. It’s not.

For example, Georgia — my home state — is an open primary state. Here, you check a box and pull whichever party’s ballot strikes your fancy for that primary cycle…

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Kristle Chester
Politically Speaking

Freelancer. Data geek. Gardener. Baker. Spaniel lover. Georgian. MA International Commerce and Policy.