For the third year in a row, North Carolina teens were most likely to reject party labels and instead “pre-register” as unaffiliated voters in 2012, according to data from the State Board of Elections.
Under a program first implemented in 2010, 16- and 17-year-olds can pre-register to vote in North Carolina, allowing them to automatically become active voters when they turn 18. Last year, nearly 47,000 teens took advantage of the option, an increase from the 41,000 in 2011 and 38,000 in 2010.
Of the teens who pre-registered in 2012, 41 percent chose to do so as unaffiliated voters, a 3-percent increase from 2011. Thirty-three percent pre-registered as Democrats, while 25 percent did so as Republicans – marking the first year that Democrats edged out Republicans in pre-registration. One percent pre-registered as Libertarians.
The tendency of North Carolina teens to opt for unaffiliated status parallels state and national trends showing growth in the ranks of independent voters.
The top five counties for pre-registration in 2012 were Mecklenburg, Wake, Union, Guilford and Cumberland.
When it comes to voters age 18 and above, 43 percent are registered as Democrats, 31 percent Republican, 26 percent unaffiliated and .3 percent Libertarian.