(Originally published by the Providence Journal on Sept. 8th, 2014)
PROVIDENCE — More than 29,000 Rhode Islanders registered to vote this year in time for Tuesday’s primary, when voters will decide preliminary contests in races for governor, U.S. representative, mayor of Providence and other offices, a Providence Journal analysis of the statewide voter database showed.
That represents a 30-percent increase over the 22,000 people who signed up in 2010 for the last gubernatorial primary.Among the 29,019 new voters this year, women outnumbered men, 13,315 to 12,669, with another 3,035 not providing their gender to election officials.
Democrats outnumbered Republicans, 9,172 to 2,361, but both groups paled compared with the 17,269 who did not register with a party. Another 217 people registered with the Moderate Party. And signing up to vote was primarily the province of the young, with 63 percent of new voters being younger than 40 and 44 percent of them being younger than 30.
Not surprisingly, Providence, the state’s most populous city, had the most new voters, with 7,430. The state’s fourth-largest city, Pawtucket, came in second, with 2,284. Cranston, Warwick and East Providence, in that order, rounded out the top five, with more than 1,000 each, but less than 2,000.Tiny Central Falls had the highest percentage of new voters, with 8.2 percent of its 8,574 voters registering this year. Then came Providence, 6.6 percent, and Pawtucket, 5.3 percent, followed by Newport, 4.8 percent, and West Warwick, 4.0 percent.Block Island had the lowest number of new voters, 29, and the lowest percentage, 2.0. On the mainland, Little Compton had the lowest number, 73, and Glocester the lowest percentage, 2.2.In the overall electorate, Democrats and Republicans fare better than they did among new voters. Democrats make up 39.0 percent of the electorate, but only 31.6 percent of new voters. For Republicans, it was 10.0 percent among all voters, but 8.1 percent of new voters.Voters not affiliated with any party made up the majority on both lists, 50.7 percent of all voters, 59.5 percent of new voters.Moderates made up 0.3 percent of all voters, 0.7 percent of new.While voters who are not registered with a party made up a majority of those eligible to vote, Providence and four communities in the urban ring around the capital have Democratic majorities: Central Falls, Johnston, North Providence and Pawtucket. The largest majority for Democrats is in Providence, at 57.6 percent, while the smallest Democratic majority is in Johnston, 52.6.Democrats are the largest group in East Providence, but, at 48.3 percent, fall short of a majority. In that city, 44.4 percent are unaffiliated.The most Republican communities are Little Compton, at 19.8 percent, and East Greenwich, 19.5 percent. Republicans do not outnumber Democrats anywhere in the state, but come closest in Scituate, where there are 1,485 Republicans and 1,609 Democrats.By age group, voters in their 50s made up the largest group among all voters, numbering 141,291, or 18.9 percent of the electorate. Among new voters, those in their 20s were the largest group, at 7,679, or 26.5 percent of those who registered this year.Those in their 20s came in at second place among all voters, with 129,711, or 17.3 percent, while those in their 30s were second among new voters, with 5,334, or 18.4 percent.Among all voters who indicated they are women, Mary tops the list as the most common name, followed by Jennifer, Elizabeth, Maria and Patricia. Among new voters who indicated they are women, the top five, in order: Jennifer, Elizabeth, Jessica, Maria and Sarah. Mary placed eighth among new voters.The men’s top five are not very different from each other, with Michael, John, Robert and David, in order at the top. Fifth place among all male voters went to James, while Christopher took that spot among new voters.On Twitter: @projopaul