(Oct. 24, 2014) While the Eastern Shore votes as reliably red as the western shore does blue, as a pure numbers game registered Democrats have always outstripped their perennial foe in Worcester County.
Until this year. Granted the number isn’t huge, but according to a report by the Worcester County Board of Elections, Rs outnumber Ds by 24 people, 14,528 to 14,504.
When asked if this is the first time this has occurred, Election Director Patricia Jackson quickly answered “Yes.”
Although Republicans were a relative rarity throughout the Eastern Shore in the 1950s and 1960s, the numbers have been closer in recent years, with Republicans moving toward numerical supremacy at a more rapid clip in the last decade.
In addition, turnount among registered voters is reasonably high. In 2012, slightly more than 36,000 ballots were cast in Worcester County, or just a shade over 76 percent and somewhere in the middle of Maryland counties as a whole.
Somerset County had 76.5 percent participation and Wicomico had 75.7 percent.
The percentage of voters was even greater in 2008, with about 80.5 percent percent participation in Worcester, 80.1 percent in Wicomico and 77.5 percent in Somerset.
Of those, almost 12,600 were Democrats, and nearly 11,200 were Republicans in Worcester County with 81 percent and 85 percent participation respectively. Wicomico and Somerset numbers were comparable to previous years and to the general higher trend during this particular election cycle.
Unaffiliated voters made one of their larger jumps between the 2010 and 2012 election cycles, booming from about 5,300 in 2010 to 6,000 in 2012 and ending up at almost 6,400 today. Their turnout was low in both previous years with 43 percent in 2010 and 63 percent in 2012.
There exists within Worcester County a smattering of other minor parties such as the Green, Libertarian, Constitution and even a Socialist, but their registration numbers are a small fraction of even the unaffiliated voters, with the Libertarians having the most registered voters at 166.
The Worcester County Board of Elections reports that the “books are closed” for this coming election, and no new registrations can be accepted. The only way to vote and have it counted on election day is if the voter registration has been classified as “pending,” meaning there was some sort of difficulty verifying some required data.
Though there are fewer than 40 pending voters in Worcester County, status can still be switched to active by means of a valid driver’s license or full Social Security number at the regular polling place.