The role of unenrolled voters in Massachusetts on Super Tuesday

Only 19 towns in Massachusetts have more registered Republicans than Democrats.

SOUTHWICK, Mass. (WWLP) – Voters in a Massachusetts primary who are registered as a Democrat or Republican can only vote for a candidate in their party. Unenrolled voters who have not chosen either side can pick up whichever ballot they want on Super Tuesday.

In Southwick there are more than 1,500 registered Republicans, and more than 1,300 registered Democrats, making it one of only seven towns in western Massachusetts with more registered Republicans. There are nearly 4,000 unenrolled voters in Southwick as well, and political experts say those voters could have a big affect on the election this year.

Historically when Massachusetts voters head to the polls on Super Tuesday it’s a Democratic candidate that walks away with the win. There are 19 towns here in Massachusetts that have more registered Republicans than registered democrats. Again, seven being in western Massachusetts : Tolland, Granville, Southwick, Blandford, Hampden, Russell and Montgomery.

“While Massachusetts does tend to be a blue state there are more voters registered as unenrolled than there are registered as Republican or Democrat,” former Agawam Town Clerk Richard Theroux said. “Political experts say those unenrolled voters could vote republican this election cycle.”

American International College Political Professor Julie Walsh said she also believes unenrolled voters could sway toward the Republican side this year.

“There is a certain excitement in the trump campaign,” Walsh said. “And, certainly since South Carolina and Mrs. Clinton’s win there, I think people feel that the nomination is hers — so certainly there could be more independents taking out that Republican ballot.”

In Massachusetts there more than 4 million registered voters. Of that, more than 1.5 million are Democrats and nearly 500,000 are Republican. But again, the biggest number goes to the more than 2 million who are registered as unenrolled, also known as independent.

“We talk about leaners, people who if you ask them are they independent,” Walsh said. “But then you ask a follow up question, ‘Which way do you lean, Democrat or Republican?’ We have more democratic leaners in Massachusetts. But it is a state that has shown it will vote for certain Republicans.”

Donald Trump could be that Republican. Political experts agree many voters who have chosen to vote for Donald Trump are tired of the typical politician.

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