RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — It’s been about three and a half weeks since the State Board of Elections voted to recognize No Labels as an official political party in North Carolina.
The most recent numbers, provided by the NCSBE on Saturday, show 419 voters have already chosen No Labels as their political party. That might be a small number, but it’s what’s within that number that tells us a lot about the political impact of having another party to choose from in November 2024.
Western Carolina University political scientist Chris Cooper said about a third of those voters switched parties. But two-thirds of them are newly registered voters. In most cases they’ve either reached voting age or have moved into the state.
“I think what we’re learning from those new registrants is that the real people that should be scared right now are not the Democrats, they’re not the Republicans, it’s the Green Party, and it’s a Libertarian party. Folks who are already going to go and choose a third party. No Labels outperformed libertarians, plus Green Party members,” said Cooper.
So, is No Labels that good at getting its message out or is it something else?
“I think there is going to be some confusion here,” said Cooper.
If a new voter is not aware of No Labels could some of them be confusing that party with the Unaffiliated option? Cooper believes that could be the case.
“I think some of these folks know what they’re doing. They’re registering for No Labels because they really believe in what they perceive as that cause. But I think there’s no question that a large number of these people are also a bit confused and let’s be honest, No Labels sounds a lot like Unaffiliated,” said Cooper.
No Labels has billed itself as a better option if Joe Biden and Donald Trump win their nominations. But so far, they have no candidate or list of choices.
In North Carolina, you can only vote in your registered party’s primary, with one major exception.
“If they had chosen the Unaffiliated label, then they would have been able to choose the Democratic or the Republican primary. So, one of the many things I want to see here is if just some of these No Labels folks switch back to Unaffiliated when they realize that they’ve essentially disenfranchised themselves from a partisan primary,” Cooper said.