The number of Ashe County voters has decreased in this election year compared to 2012 and 2010, according to data provided by the Ashe County and N.C. Board of Elections.
For the 2014 election cycle, Ashe County has 18,509 registered voters. In 2012, the county had 19,031 voters while in 2010, Ashe County had 20,682 voters. Still, the number of county voters has increased compared to 2013, when Ashe had 18,403 registered voters.
According to Ashe County Board of Elections Director John Shepherd, the decrease is due to the number of senior voters decreasing and people moving into the county not registering.
In addition, the number of registered voters through the two major parties have decreased in the county.
Registered Democrats total 6,103, a decrease of 365 from the 2012 election. Republicans in the county total 7,807, a decrease of 234.
Registered Libertarians increased by 7, bringing the total to 45, while unaffiliated voters increased by 70, raising the number of unaffiliated voters to 4,554.
According to data provided by the Ashe County Board of Elections, Republicans make up 42.2 percent of the voting population while Democrats make up 33 percent. Unaffiliated voters make up 24.6 percent while Libertarians make up less than 1 percent.
Republicans have the highest number of registered voters in 16 of Ashe County’s 17 precincts, while Democrats have more registered voters in the Jefferson precinct. Democrats account for 40.6 percent of voters in Jefferson’s precinct while Republicans account for 35.5 percent and unaffiliated voters account for 23.8 percent.
The strongest district for the GOP is the Creston precinct, which is 65.7 percent Republican. In the Creston precinct and four others, unaffiliated voters make up a higher percentage than Democrat voters. The Republican’s second main stronghold is the Pond Mountain precinct where 58.5 percent are registered voters with the party.
In addition the Laurel and North Fork precincts have over 50 percent of their voters affiliating with the Republican Party.
The precincts where the parties are near even are West Jefferson (37.5 percent Republican, 37 percent Democrat) and New River (37.9 percent Republican, 36.6 percent Democrat). In both precincts, unaffiliated voters make approximately 25 percent of the population.
The three largest precincts in the county are: Jefferson (3,121 voters), West Jefferson (2,997 voters) and Old Fields (2,022 voters). Pond Mountain (153 voters) and Hurricane (206 voters) precincts are the smallest in the county.
According to data, there are 12 voters with no assigned precinct, eight of which are Democrats. Two of the unassigned voters are Republican, while the remaining two are unaffiliated.
Statewide, there are 6,517,800 registered voters. Democrats have 2,755,612 registered voters and Republicans have 1,996,273 registered voters, according to the North Carolina Board of Elections. An additional 1,742,366 voters are unaffiliated.
In the High Country, Alleghany and Yancey counties have more registered Democrats while Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga and Wilkes counties have more registered Republicans.
Wil Petty can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @WilPetty.