County voter turnout rate among top 10Published 6:42pm Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Beaufort County had the 10th-highest voter turnout among North Carolina’s 100 counties in the 2012 election, according to a Democracy North Carolina report.
The county’s voter turnout was 71.8 percent, according to the report. The Beaufort County Board of Elections’ website puts voter turnout at 71.96 percent.
“Not really,” said Kellie Harris Hopkins, Beaufort County’s elections director, when asked if the No. 10 ranking in voter turnout surprised her. “Beaufort County’s always been pretty good at turning out on presidential elections. … I will say this, I believe one of the reasons that Beaufort County citizens turn out so much is because we have such active local political parties.”
Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina, said the split results in the 10 counties with the highest voter turnouts reflects North Carolina’s swing-state status. Five of those counties — Beaufort, Davie, Person, Moore and Greene — went for Republican Mitt Romney. The other five counties — Chatham, Warren, Wake, Granville and Hertford — went for President Barack Obama.
More women voted than men in each of the 100 counties, the report notes.
“It’s fascinating to see all the variations in performance among age, gender, race and party groups in the counties,” said Hall. “Our state has a long history of low participation, going back to the days of the literacy tests and poll tax. Studying high and low performing groups in counties can help communities improve participation and civic life.”
The data show that 13,030 women voted in Beaufort County, with 10,447 men marking ballots. There were 11,342 Democratic voters compared to 7,868 Republican voters. Forty-four Libertarians voted. Unaffiliated voters accounted for 4,502 votes cast in the county.
The 41-to-65 age group had the most voters with 11,532, followed by the 65-and-up age group with 6,594 voters. The lowest age group (18 to 25) had 1,718 voters. The 26-to-40 age group had 3,911 voters.
Statewide, Republican voter turnout was 73 percent, Democratic voter turnout was 70 percent and unaffiliated voter turnout was 60 percent.
The turnout rate for African-American women voters and white Republican voters was 74 percent, ahead of the state turnout rate of 68 percent.
“The presidential election was a polarizing, emotional experience for core supporters of both major candidates,” said Hall. “Candidates, parties and interest groups invested in mobilizing voters and helped them understand that their vote was important for themselves and for society.”