Yesterday, the Oklahoma Election Board released the official 2015 voter registration stats for Oklahoma. This new data shows that Republicans officially outnumber Democrats in the state.
As of January 15th, 2015, Republicans have 886,153 registered voters while Democrats have 882,866 voters, a difference of 3,467 voters. This continues the trend of more Oklahomans choosing to register as Republicans while fewer are sticking with the Democratic party.
However, what is not getting much exposure in the media is that Independent registrations are growing at a much faster rate than the Republican party. While Republicans have seen a 3.7% increase over last year’s registrations, Independents have seen a 9.44% increase. The 10 year increase is similarly stacked in favor of Independents, with 7.78% increase for Republicans and a 15.08% increase for Independents.
The Oklahoma Democratic Party has had a worse time as of late. They lost 0.33% registrations since last year and 19.77% registrations in the last 10 years.
While raw numbers still have Independents trailing far behind the duopoly parties, the fact that they are growing at a consistently faster rate bodes well for Oklahoma politics. As Independent registrations grow, it will be harder and harder for the Legislature to ignore the needs and desires of Independent voters and the parties they wish to form.
Finally, if we average the rate of change over the last 20 years and project these numbers out to 2025, we see some major shifts. This assumes that nothing else changes in Oklahoma, just voter registrations. In this projection, by 2025 we will have a split of 33% Democrats, 46% Republicans and 21% Independents.
What is not shown in this chart is that there are many independents that are still registered as Democrats or Republicans because the Independents are not given proper representation monetarily by the state as only Republicans and Democrats get any money from the state for political agendas. Independents have to raise their own money. But if you look at their voting trends of our elected officials you can sometimes figure out which Republicans and Democrats are actually Independents. There were many of us that were registered as Republican or Democrat but have found that neither of the “two party system” parties represented our values. I am one of many that I know that were registered as Republican or Democrat that were hesitant to be registered as an independent because of lack of representation. As I think of it if there was a way that more people could become more aware that they are also in the same boat as I was until just recently, I feel that they would also “jump ship” and come to the party that will actually represent their values.
I also do realize that Democrats and Republicans also have to raise their own money. But most of the money they raise is done this way. “Hello. I am the Democratic representative so and so.” With the reply, “Here is your check.” The same can be said if the person was Republican. They do not have to claw their way for every dollar like the Independents. There is also a box on our tax returns that asks for $2 donation for politics which does not change your taxes in any way just $2 forms out of the air and is put in a pot that the two parties can draw blank check from. I do not think that independents can draw from this well.