Interactive: Voter registration breaks records in James City County and Williamsburg

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Residents in the Historic Triangle have registered to vote in record numbers for this contentious presidential election.

Records were broken in James City County and the City of Williamsburg for the total number of registered voters in those areas, while York County saw a slight decrease in the total number of registered voters since the second election of President Barack Obama in 2012.

“Not only has it been record setting for the total number of unique new voters into the county, but also for those re-registering with information they’ve already got, as well as record-setting turnout for those who did not need to update their information,” said James City County General Registrar Dianna Moorman.

With records already set in James City and Williamsburg, there could be even more of an uptick following a federal judge’s ruling to extend the state’s registration deadline after a glitch in the registration website last Monday. The new registration deadline ended at 11:59 p.m. Friday and the applications are still being processed. The data used is this story reflects registrations as of the Oct. 17 deadline.

The following analysis looks at voter registration throughout the Historic Triangle over the past 16 years.

Graphs display active (blue), inactive (red) and total number of voters (yellow). The slider at the bottom will adjust the graph’s range of time.

 James City County saw considerable upticks in voter registration immediately preceding the Obama-McCain election in 2008, as well as before the 2012 Presidential election. This 2016 Presidential election season has seen record-breaking numbers of citizens registering to vote, with especially strong voter registration in the past year.

There are 6.26 percent more registered voters this election year than in 2012, which amounts to 3,296 voters. There are often significant upticks in voter registration for the year before a Presidential election as citizens look to influence their political parties in party primaries or caucuses.

The increase in the number of registered voters could also be explained by the rate of population growth in James City County, which averaged a 2.60 percent growth annually from 2000 to 2015. The annual rate of growth was nearly two and a half times that of York County and nearly two times that of Williamsburg City.

York County saw strong growth in the number of registered voters from 2000 to 2012, however since the the 2012 presidential election the county has seen a decrease of 2.89 percent, which amounts to 1,352 voters.  This decline in registered voters could correlate with the plateauing York County annual population growth rate of 0.73 percent.

Williamsburg City saw incredible increases in the number of registered voters from 6,235 registered voters in 2006 to a record-breaking 11,990 registered voters in 2016. This represents a 6.76 percent annual increase in the number of registered voters from 2006 to 16. Williamsburg’s greatest gains in voter registration came in the period between 2006 and 2012.

The city also experienced a 25.3 percent population growth from 2000 to 2016, with an average annual population growth rate of 1.42 percent. The city saw a decrease in the total registered voters and an increase in inactive registered voters, voters who do not vote in two consecutive federal elections.

The following graph shows population figures from the City of Williamsburg, James City and York counties, which is based off of census data from 2000 to 2015.