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Southold Town now home to as many enrolled Democrats as Republicans

The number of enrolled Democrats in Southold Town is now virtually even with Republicans, according to data released by the New York State Board of Elections Monday.

The report, which is posted to the BOE site every November and February, shows there are now 6,133 active Republican voters in Southold Town to 6,131 Democrats.

It’s a stark contrast to the last presidential election year in 2016, when there were 1,637 more registered Republicans in town than Democrats, according to the state.

“The Southold Democrats have been closely following these numbers since 2017, and knew this was coming,” Committee Chair Kathryn Casey Quigley said in a statement. “But it’s absolutely happened more quickly than we anticipated.” 

Ms. Casey Quigley attributed a “growing anti-Trump sentiment” fueled by the president’s response to COVID-19, general dissatisfaction with local elected officials and the work of volunteers to register voters with the sharp growth in voter enrollment.

A change in demographics as residents fled New York City for the East End, also may have played a role. State BOE data shows that since Feb. 1, Southold Town Democrats have added more than 725 voters to their rolls, a higher total than any other enrollment period in at least a dozen years, as far back as the public database goes.

Since 2008, Democrats have closed a more than 2,600-voter advantage held by town Republicans, the data shows. While Republican enrollment has only dropped by an average of about 50 voters annually in those 12 years, Democrats saw steady gains of about 108 per year between Nov. 1, 2008 and Nov. 1, 2019 and 821 voters in the year since.

“We are proud of our progress and this tremendous accomplishment, and have no doubt the wave will continue, so that registered Democrats outnumber even the Republican and Conservative parties combined,” said Ms. Casey Quigley, who was elected party chair in 2018.

Southold Town Republican Committee chairman Peter McGreevy said the trend has more to do with registering “new and second homeowners, who are largely Democrats to begin with.”

“This is consistent with a demographic trend that has been playing out across entire east end, and is not unique to Southold,” he said in a statement. “For years Democrats on the North Fork and in the Hamptons have focused their efforts on registering new and second homeowners from New York City, who are largely Democrats to begin with. The trend has accelerated in the past few years due to the polarized nature of our national politics, and more recently, as COVID has caused hundreds of city residents to flee [Mayor Bill] de Blasio’s failing boroughs and relocate to the safety of Southold. I hope our new residents remember to vote to preserve what we have in Southold, and not for the progressive Democratic policies that they left behind.”

There are currently just over 400 registered Conservatives in Southold and more than 900 voters registered with other minor party lines, including Independent, Working Families and Green. There are about 4,300 voters in Southold Town with no party affiliation, according to data released by the state in February.