Ahead of primary, nearly 4,000 Democratic voters switch affiliation to Republican or undeclared

By ETHAN DEWITT

New Hampshire Bulletin

Published: 10-12-2023 6:08 PM

Nearly 4,000 New Hampshire Democratic voters changed their party affiliation ahead of the state’s presidential primary next year, the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office announced Wednesday – a possible indication that they plan to participate in the Republican primary.

In a news release, the office said that 3,542 people who were registered as Democrats switched their registration to “undeclared.” An additional 408 Democrats switched to be registered as Republicans.

Voters in New Hampshire had a window between Sept. 14 and Oct. 7 to switch parties in time for the presidential primary. In New Hampshire, voters registered with a specific party may only vote in state and federal primaries for that party, but voters registered as “undeclared” may choose which primary to vote in on Election Day. Moving forward, no registration changes will be allowed until after the presidential primary.

The Republican presidential primary field is busier than the Democratic field this year; 12 Republicans are vying for their party’s nomination. On the Democratic side, President Joe Biden is running for re-election and is being challenged by Marianne Williamson, a self-help author who ran unsuccessfully in 2020.

Two candidates are running as independent candidates: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornell West. 

Secretary of State Dave Scanlan has not yet set New Hampshire’s 2024 primary election date, which is typically held in February. The filing period for candidates to appear on New Hampshire’s presidential primary ballot began Tuesday, Oct. 10, and will continue until Oct. 27.

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The secretary of state’s registration numbers reveal that registered Republicans now outnumber Democrats 269,766 to 265,159 in New Hampshire, but undeclared voters tally 344,212. That balance may shift next year if Democratic-leaning voters switch their affiliations back to the Democratic Party ahead of the state primary and general election in fall 2024.

In total 4,920 people switched affiliations in this latest round: 78 people switched from Republican to Democratic; 719 switched from Republican to undeclared; 41 switched from undeclared to Democratic; and 132 switched from undeclared to Republican.