Publisher's note: This post, by Andy Jackson, was originally published in Civitas's online edition.
With everything else in North Carolina slowing down or stopping, it should come as no surprise that voter registrations have also slowed down.
Voter registrations during the first five reporting weeks after the March 3 primary (which includes both new registration and verifications of same-day registrations during early voting) showed a net gain of 34,477 registrations. That is well off the pace of the 55,395 net increase in registrations in 2016 and was even slightly less than the 34,701 net gain in registrations after the 2018 midterm primary.
Democratic, Republican, and unaffiliated voter registrations during the first five weeks after the 2016, 2018, and 2020 primaries. | Source: NC State Board of Elections
That decline was not evenly distributed across affiliations. While Democratic registrations declined by a relatively modest 21.1 percent, from 5,821 in 2016 to 4,591 in 2020, Republican registrations decline by 41.3 percent, from 18,743 in 2016 to 11,002 in 2020. However, 2020 only had an active primary on the Democratic side, which may have skewed the numbers somewhat. The net gain in unaffiliated registrations declined 38.4 percent, from 31,209 in 2016 to 19,222 in 2020.
So, will this be a case of registrations delayed being registrations denied? I suspect not; there will be ample opportunities for folks to register as coronavirus-related restrictions are lifted and people get back to their normal business.