Registered Democrats Increase in Charles County

By Philip Rucker and William Wan
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, June 22, 2006

The number of registered voters in Charles County has increased 3.1 percent since the 2004 election, reflecting the area's continuing population growth. Most of the new voters have registered as Democrats, according to data released by county Board of Elections officials this week.

Monday night was the deadline for voters to change their political party affiliation before the Maryland primary election on Sept. 12. An exception to the rule allows voters who have moved into a new jurisdiction until Aug. 22 to change their registration.

In Charles County, 76,134 people are registered to vote, of which 49 percent are Democrats and 34 percent are Republicans. The remaining 17 percent are registered as unaffiliated independents or members of third parties.

Since November 2004, the number of registered Democrats has increased 4.6 percent, from 36,161 voters to 37,830. In the same period, the number of registered Republicans has decreased 0.4 percent, from 25,884 voters to 25,773.

Today, 11,483 voters are registered as independents, 94 as members of the Green Party, 18 as members of the Constitution Party, 72 as members of the Libertarian Party and three as members of the Populist Party.

In Calvert County, Republicans held a 592-voter edge over Democrats when the party-change deadline arrived Monday. The two parties have been dueling for superiority in registrations since the 1998 elections. Since then, Calvert, which for decades was dominated by Democrats, has been a contested area now often almost evenly split between the two major parties.

Leaders on both sides said that while party affiliation numbers in Calvert have changed, voters in local elections seem to be driven more by candidates and their stances on issues, particularly those related to growth, than by their party.

The voter registration totals in Calvert are 20,763 Republicans, 20,171 Democrats, 100 Green Party members, 61 Libertarians, six Constitution Party members and 7,866 unaffiliated voters. Other parties not recognized by the state accounted for 471 voters.

St. Mary's County election officials had not completed an update of voter registration figures by Tuesday. They said they would allow time for mail-in registrations to arrive before issuing new party affiliation numbers.

In Support of Firefighters

In recognition of his lifetime of support of fire and rescue operations, Charles County Commissioner Robert J. Fuller (D-St. Charles) was inducted into the Southern Maryland Volunteer Firemen's Association's Hall of Fame.

Fuller, a retired captain with the Prince George's County Fire Department, serves as the Charles commissioners' representative on the county's Board of Fire and Rescue.

The association has honored more than 150 volunteers since the inception of its Hall of Fame in 1986, and last year it began honoring individuals outside the volunteer services who have made significant contributions to the association.

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