During the 2012 general election, there were almost 2,500 more people registered to vote in Athens County than are registered this year.
According to the Athens Board of Elections, more than 45,417 people are registered to vote in the county. In 2012, 47,858 people were registered.
Debbie Quivey, the director of the Board of Elections, said she doesn’t know why more people were registered to vote in 2012 than now.
“In 2012, there may have been more people living here, or there may have been more students living here. It’s really hard to say,” she said. “This year we have the amount that registered, and I can’t really tell you why. There’s no statistics for why.”
David Parkhill, the president of Ohio University College Republicans, also said he doesn’t know why more people would’ve been registered to vote in 2012 than are for the current election.
“My only guess is people are just getting so sick of it,” he said. “It’s such a brutal race, and people are just discounting the rest of the race. They just don’t want to get involved with any of it.”
Sam Miller, the president of OU College Democrats, however, said she thinks there are a lot of people who think they are registered to vote when in fact, they are not.
“They don’t realize there was a change, and their voter registration got purged because they were deemed an inactive voter,” she said. “I also think a lot of students, even though we stressed that if you moved at all since Obama’s term or the primary you still have to register again, think they’re still registered even though they’re not.”
Miller does not think it is necessarily a bad thing that the number of registered voters is lower.
“I just think that in the scheme of things a lot of people are already registered to vote or did absentee,” she said. “There are a lot of local races as well that students really care about at home, so they want to vote there. It doesn’t necessarily upset me that there are less voters registered.”
This year, there are 10,312 registered Democrats and 6,585 registered Republicans in Athens County, while 28,427 people are not registered with any party. During the primary election, 4,321 people registered as Democrat, 1,204 registered as Republican, and 33,851 people were nonpartisan.
Even though the number of registered voters is lower than it was in 2012, the total number of registered voters has grown since the primary election. A total of 39,384 people were registered to vote in the county during the primary election. On Oct. 11, the voter registration deadline, there were 44,651 people registered in Athens County which, when all new registrations were counted, grew to the new total of 45,417 registered voters.
“I have not seen the students come in and vote in person like I did four years ago or even eight years ago,” Quivey said. “In the primary election on the Democrat ticket, Hillary (Clinton) took a little over 3,000 votes, and Bernie Sanders took over 6,000. He took 63 percent of the votes, which makes me think the students were leaning toward Bernie, and I think that could be why now the students aren’t voting in person. I think that plays a role in it.”