Recent data from the North Carolina Board of Elections found thousands of Black residents have switched their political party to “unaffiliated.”
Overall, about 123,000 North Carolinians have registered as unaffiliated since 2016, reported ABC11. About 37,000 of those voters are Black. Unaffiliated voters, also known as independents, do not consider themselves members of a specific political party.
“I love it because I don’t have to vote straight Republican or straight Democratic. And I can just get a feel for each candidate,” unaffiliated voter Tiffany Pass told ABC11.
“That’s a lot. It’s about choice,” she added.
Nationwide, 37 percent of registered voters identify as independent voters compared to 33 and 26 percent of voters, respectively, who consider themselves Democrats and Republicans, according to 2017 data from the Pew Research Center. Most independents, 50 percent to be exact, lean left or toward ideology commonly associated with Democrats. Forty-two percent identify with conservative or Republican ideals.
The Black community remains overwhelmingly Democrat, with 84 percent of Pew survey participants identifying themselves as Democratic voters. Only eight percent of Black Americans consider themselves Republicans.
A 2019 survey of 30,000 Black Americans conducted by The Black Census Project found a majority of those surveyed were disillusioned with the Democratic party, reported Vox. Sixty percent of those respondents self-identified as Democrats while 2 percent were Republicans. The rest said they were independent or members of a third party.
However, 52 percent of participants believe Democratic politicians “do not care about Black people or their interests,” according to Vox.
“Black voters are an incredibly powerful force, and yet we’re not being engaged as if we’re an incredibly powerful force,” Alicia Garza, principle of Black Futures Lab, told Vox. The Black Census Project is a Black Futures Lab Initiative. “With so much at stake in the country, we don’t have time for fried chicken photo ops.”