The number of registered voters in Frederick County now skews ever-so-slightly blue, after more than two decades of Republicans leading the way.

There are now 16 more Democrats registered countywide than Republicans, according to a recent analysis by the Frederick County Board of Elections. There are 67,751 Democrats, 67,735 Republicans and 43,923 voters who are either unaffiliated or with other political parties in the county.

Frederick County Election Director Stuart Harvey said in a news release the unaffiliated group, also known as independent voters, is the fastest-growing group of registered voters countywide.

“Unaffiliated voters are growing statewide, but we have one of the highest, if not the highest percentage in the state,” Harvey said in an email.

Harvey added that when he came to Frederick County in 2002, there were roughly 11,000 more Republicans than Democrats. Before then, Democrats had outnumbered Republicans until the 1994 gubernatorial primary, Harvey said.

Republicans had led in voter registration since then until Friday, he said.

County Councilman Kai Hagen (D) said the Democratic growth is not an “anomaly” and has been occurring since he was elected to the Board of County Commissioners in 2006.

Still, even with the slight advantage, Hagen said partisan turnout is still the number one factor in upcoming local elections. He said that split tickets are common when considering local elections versus state and federal races.

“Local issues and local leadership has always been nonpartisan enough for crossover votes to be significant, and for people to win and not be in the majority or plurality party,” Hagen said.

County Council President M.C. Keegan-Ayer (D) also expressed a similar view, saying that at the local level, residents want their streets plowed, garbage picked up and other services provided, versus focusing on party politics.

Concerning state and federal politics, Hagen and Keegan-Ayer both said the growth in unaffiliated voters is a sign more people don’t identify with either political party.

Keegan-Ayer said many are dissatisfied with the current political climate nationally.

“People’s concern is at the national level, the two parties are talking past each other,” she said. “There is no effort to hear what the other side is saying. ... I do believe that’s when unaffiliated [voters] are jumping.”

A few local Republicans, James Dvorak and Del. Barrie Ciliberti (R-Frederick and Carroll), agreed the national political climate led to the rise of unaffiliated voters countywide.

Dvorak also said, however, that Republicans need to work on registering more voters and increasing turnout, given current registration numbers.

“We’re just gonna keep our feet on the ground, keep going out there for 2020,” said Dvorak, chair of the county Republican Central Committee. “Obviously we’re not happy about it.”

Ciliberti said one reason there might be more Democrats in the county now is because Montgomery County residents are moving up to Frederick County, along with liberal voters statewide.

“Politically, it argues well for the Democrats. ... It speaks a lot to the hardcore left that runs Montgomery County,” said Ciliberti, who has served as a delegate since February 2015. “And they’re coming up to Frederick [County] where things might be more like common sense.”

No matter what happens in the future, current numbers show some upcoming local elections should be close, Harvey said.

“I think it could predict a number of close elections for state and county officials going forward here, with unaffiliated voters holding the balance of power,” he said. “We saw that to some extent in 2018, in the District 3B race, and in the Council District 1 race.”

In the 3B race, Del. Ken Kerr, a Democrat, defeated incumbent Bill Folden by about three percentage points in 2018. As for the District 1 race, Democrat Jerry Donald was successfully re-elected by fewer than 350 votes.

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel.

Registered voters in Frederick County, 2000-now

•2000 and 2010 data is as of October of those years. 2020 data is as of Jan. 3, and the number for unaffiliated voters also includes third parties.

Year Democrats Republicans Unafflilated
2000 40,625 49,142 16,870
2010 52,181 57,958 26,637
2020• 67,751 67,735 43,923

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(108) comments


Thanks for deleting my comment - must have hit a nerve...

Comment deleted.

Yes, indeed you were.


I,m doing my part, I’m still a RR(RegisteredRepublican)....as opposed to a RRR(RadicalRightRepublican). We should change their name to TP(TrumpParty). Not to be mistaken for (ToiletPaper).


That's all we need...more schumers and pelosis :(


Yes. We do. You people have ruined enough.


And you will get them.

Comment deleted.

Do you know Stuart, Tim? I do. I know that he and his staff work hard to update everything possible. And dead voters, how are you going to track them? Not all people that did have obituaries in the Newspaper.

Business Owner

Expect more balloon laws.








Of Martinsburg


Uh...no. Just.No.


Like things aren’t bad enough?


Pffff....As if Red Flag laws have nothing to do with it. What an idiotic article.


I’m certain that more people will

Be moving back to Frederick now that the balloon issue has been resolved.


Yes, that was scary, wasn't it.


Read. https://www.deq.virginia.gov/Portals/0/DEQ/CoastalZoneManagement/IssuesInitiatives/Virginia%20Balloon%20Litter%20Monitoring%20-%202013-2017%20-%20Final%20Report.pdf?ver=2018-08-21-122148-153


Keep in mind that many in Maryland who are independents or unaffiliated will choose a party affiliation to be able to vote in primary elections. I'm in that camp, I bounce back and forth depending on who I wish to support or try to block. I suspect the true number of those who consider themselves independents would shock many of the regulars in both parties who believe the numbers are on their side in a popular sense. The large amount of openly unaffiliated is a sign that they don't even care to participate in the primary, perhaps not even the general.

Changing party affiliation affects only the Primary Election. Only the Republican and Democratic Parties are on the Primary in 2020. But if one does choose to change party affiliations with hidden intentions they most by April 2020 and can’t vote to choose the candidate in the party they favor. The Voter can still vote for whoever they want in the General Election. ’Party hoping’ doesn’t happen much in Maryland and has been proven ineffective in general election outcomes across the nation.


Wishful thinking :)


Aw,n is right.

No. Just facts.🤷‍♂️ Also make note: If you request a change in party affiliation after April 7, 2020, your party change will not be processed until registration reopens after the primary election.


Not voting in the primary means that you let others decide who you will be able to vote for in the General Election.


Ron Young, wife & Kai Hagen are the face's of the Frederick County Democratic party. Scary. The good news is for the Democrats is named Jan Gardner.


I want her to run for Governor.

What draws my attention is how many unaffiliated voter there are - 44,000 out of 183,000 registered voters in the county (rounding). That’s 24% of potential voters, substantial. I imagine most lean either ‘left or right’ but don’t “march locked in step” with either party. But more open to voting on specific policies and issues. A good balance.


This is a positive trend. Let's face it, Jan Gardner has been a pragmatic, positive leader and cleaned up the disaster of Blaine Young and his Republican wing men who gave away millions in tax dollars to developers while trying to sell out our seniors. Blaine sold out to all the residential development at the expense of taxpayers.


Kirby's business is doing great. His forest destruction equipment has been busy at Lake Ryanore, err Linganore, bulldozing forests and making way for thousands of new Ryan Homes. If you hate overdevlopment and sprawl, and voted for Blaine, Kirby, Smith...etc, it's on you.


FF- [thumbup][thumbup]




Yes, hopefully Blaine Young will never be elected to any office - not even dog catcher.


Most republicans don’t care about the environment they believe prayer alone will prevent polar ice melt and sweeping forest floors will prevent forest fires.

The Grape of Wrath

And why not? Prayers prevent rape victims from becoming pregnant.


Frederick County like most conservative counties are reluctantly becoming more liberal because of republicans and Trump’s federal monetary deficit free for all. Republicans and Trump are spending US taxpayers money and future revenues like a wealthy rapper in a jewelry store. This old republican politicians won’t be footing the bill 10 years from now we will be they be in the ground or in Russia retired


As the article stated, locally, people want good roads and trash picked up, regardless of party.

But, as we have seen, the most interest has been generated lately regarding the non-release of nonpourous bags (balloons).

With a county council ALL Democrats, we beter watch out. Not a good look for us Democrats if we are pushing balloon legislation when councilmembers openly admit in this article voters elect them to improve services.

You let a bad team just hang around and eventually they will beat you. Us Democrats gotta stop digging holes. First, the city's weathervane sick bird logo developed in Jacksonhille, FL comes up. Now, nonpourous bag legislation. We just hurting ourselves!


Keep beating that dead horse Happy....


Kai just went overboard on a non enforceable idea. Don't blow it out of proportion.


I like to think of it as sending up a trial balloon ...


You think Kai is going to run for CE?


Happy, did you ever read that report from Longwood U in Virginia regarding Balloon litter on VA beaches, and the serious and deadly environmental effect of such balloon litter? I bet not. Just in case you missed it, I'll post the link again. It's full of bright colorful pictures that will keep deep thinkers such as yourself attentive. Pay particular attention to the pictures on page 8 showing a critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle found stranded dead on Fisherman Island, VA, gut full of balloons, and ribbons still hanging out of it's mouth. Also on that page are gruesome pictures of a Cory’s shearwater, and a dead laughing gull hanging from power lines.


Your concerns are difficult, and require funding. Do you want to raise taxes to do them? The common sense helium balloon mass release ban didn't cost a penny, and took no time away from other legislative proposals. Your flippant attitude is indefensible. Matt and Hay, please feel free to give your opinions of the Longwood paper.

The Grape of Wrath

Of course many of the Democrats are young and don't understand voting or elections, which works to the advantage of Republicans.




Seriously? They understand better than many of their elders ever did.


And you are a Principal in Frederick County? How embarrassing.


I would hope not!


Hm. They're really good at TV remotes and don't need courses to fully utilize their cell phones but voting is over their heads. Yeah. There should be some way to block posts from other planets.

The Grape of Wrath

No they do not. They do not understand how winners are both quantity and distribution dependent. One famous young lady did not know how to obtain a stamp, so she gave up trying to mail in her absentee ballot until a day before the election, when she learned how to obtain one.


I truly hope you don’t work for ANY school system if this how you think about the young.

The Grape of Wrath

They're good at trivial apps too, but apps don't generate votes. At least not yet.


The young are more motivated than older Americans. You insult the young thinking they know nothing about voting and elections. Your problem is that they for the most part don’t agree with you and more open minds.


They flee crowded, high-tax, high-crime areas only to re-create those conditions when they arrive. It's a pattern happening everywhere.



Greg F

A false claim in that it would apply equally...how many republicans already fled? Tons. How many are left? Probably can count them on less than one hand.

The Grape of Wrath

Drugs and crime were here long before Democrats. They still are. Look to your excellent Republican publicity-loving sheriff for reasons for that.


Most Marylanders can’t afford a thousand dollar auto repair because of high taxes or poor personal choices ?


I live in another state now with lower taxes where people can’t afford a thousand dollar auto repair. Your point?

Comment deleted.

How do you know that most of the unregistered are Republicans, Dick? Would you mind quoting your sources to make that claim?

Unregistered? I think you meant unaffiliated or independent. Unregistered can’t vote.


It stands to reason that those most upset with their party would change. Example, Bud Otis, he claims he didn't leave the party, the party left him. And some on here claim to be past Republicans. Democrat or Republican can and do get upset with their party. For instance, I am no fan of Bernie, I liked Warren but think her Medicare for all is wrong. The problem I have is there are no moderate Republicans anymore and as bad as some of the Democrats are, they are a better choice for me. I don't expect or care if you agree.

PewResearch Report: 6 facts about U.S. political independents



Dick, saying "It stands to reason" does not constitute proof of your claim that "most of the unregistered are Republicans." Now, can you provide proof of that? Just wonderin', that's all.

KR999, I would think most unregistered voters if registered would be democrats if not lean left. Is that your point? You do understand if one doesn’t registered to vote you can’t vote for a Democrat, Republican, or ‘Bird Keeper’ in public elections?


No aw, that was not my point, which I thought I made clear. Dick stated "Most of the unregistered are Republicans" and I just wanted proof of his claim. That was my point.


The independent number is the most surprising to me. That's good, it forces the nomination of people who aren't ideologues in the primary, because they'll have no chance with orthodox partisan rhetoric of being election. People appreciate pragmatic representation - not partisan hacks.


If only Independents could vote in the primaries...


I used to be independent a long time ago (when I went to Va Tech and then worked in VA for four years). After the first election when I was back in Maryland I switched from independent to democrat for the very reason of voting in primaries. I certainly don't like the costs of the proposals coming from the left wing of the party so my impact is ceteris paribus to vote for the more fiscally conservative candidates and/or most environmentally friendly ones.


I was uncomfortable with conversations at the door with candidates of the party I belonged to that I was pretty sure I wasn't voting for. Bud Otis was called a "turncoat" for becoming independent, but I could relate to the level of discomfort that prompts that. I had done the same myself. Don't assume anything about my vote. I am a bundle of contradictions.


Good policy, MD1756.

(I had to look up "ceteris paribus" -- that was a new phrase for me).


Got that right hayduke. [thumbup]

Refusing to allow independents to vote is the major parties' way of punishing them for not joining one tribe or the other.


I learned ceteris paribus a long time ago (its a wonder I still remember that term) when a finance professor used that term in class a lot.


Me too, but is will never happen. Ironic when you think about it because the same folks that want a national popular vote instead of electoral college are the same folks that oppose open or nonpartisan elections.


Non partisan only is for the primary. And why would any party Republican or Democrat want someone voting for their party platform. They don't, that is why you are wrong about what you say about the Electoral College. . Besides, Republicans have gerrymandered 16 states, the Democrats one. It is the Republicans that worry about one person, one vote and voter ID


25 American veterans have been committing suicide for over 30 years and now the American People are are concerned the president is starting a war to re-elected?


How can Frederick County be majorly Democrats! The economy is great everyone is prosperous the tax cuts are working we are about to replace social security and Medicare with with a Russian style needs based system and about to attack Iran for 9.11

Greg F

What boneheaded republican is leading the charge into a bogus war?


Trump, it is part of his plan to get reelected.


Major misread. Nobody wants war. How do you walk back killing a guy from a tit-for-tat culture. Terrible person no one here mourns...Ohhh I see, what matters is how you frame it...oops, still dead.


Thanks Ba’lane, Kirbie, and Billie, for rubber stamping approval to every development that came across your desks.

That’s right. If someone were to go back to when they were commissioners, you will find in the FNP comments were I state that with all their new development - they are spurring democratic growth. BecAuse the newcomers will be mostly Dems.


The Grape of Wrath

So? Are you wishing the Republicans will flee to Garrett County?


Where they will find no jobs.



You were absolutely correct.

Clearly, $$$ trumped tribal politics for Ba’lane, Kirbie, and Billie.

After all, they've made enough to pack up and move somewhere else -- perhaps a nice Caribbean island...

The destruction of Frederick County has been very good for their bank accounts.


What is really frustrating people have been moving from the metropolitan border counties such as Howard and Montgomery Counties to avoid congestion and related problems only to promote and encourage the same policies within Frederick which created conditions in areas from which they moved.

The Grape of Wrath

Just what policies do newcomers promote that existing residents don't?


How is this possible with the a republican President and the greatest economy ever?


Dear Election Director: It's INDEPENDENT not unaffiliated.

Actually, In Maryland, voters who write in “Independent” instead of checking “Unaffiliated” on the form are placed into an “Other” parties category called “Others — Independent,”


"Unaffiliated" and "Independent" are not the same thing in MD. If you desire to represent yourself as completely free of political party association, you must designate yourself as "Unaffiliated".

Here's how it works: As of 2019, there are only three parties which meet the requirements to be officially recognized by the MD Board of Elections - the Dems, the Repubs, and the Bread and Roses Party (you may google that one for yourself). Anybody who registers with another party is given a label "Other - XXX" such as "Other - Green" or "Other - Libertarian".

The catch is that there actually is (or was) an Independent Party. That was the name of the party created for Ralph Nader's run for president in 2008, and it was officially recognized by the MD BoE that year. By 2010, the party no longer met the BoE's requirements to be officially recognized, but in theory people could still register with it just like any other third party. When the party ceased to be recognized, all registered party members were notified - to the surprise of many, who thought that by designating "independent" that they had registered with no party.

To this day, anybody who registers claiming to be "independent" will get lumped into Nader's old party as "Other - Independent" rather than "Unaffiliated" which is the complete absence of party association.


Thanks for clearing that up snallygaster.


What is wrong with unaffiliated? Just because you choose a different name doesn't make theirs wrong.


Due to the relocation of the corrupt ideologies from Montgomery County. Period. They come to a place where they find lower real estate costs and less taxes, and they infiltrate the local government. Build another wall along Montgomery County.


Corrupt ideology is supporting a crook no matter how corrupt he is. Looks like we’ve got another OJ “Trial of the Century” coming soon. Jury Nullification. You should be so PROUD!!! BTW Lev, I guess you missed it but the “MoCo” Invasion crossed the County line 20 years ago in Urbana. Which now has the best schools in the County and the best educated, most affluent Frederick County citizens. And they have infiltrated the local Government. And the “Old Guard” I.e. Lev928, sat on their “hands” and did nothing about it. Old Timer Nullification. 😂🤣😢


Good one phy!



phy - [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]




You're only correct in certain regards, Fido. That is Urbana being the initial point of compromise, and Frederick County voters that support -- and live by -- the Constitution and law did not vote when they should have. Your "Trial of the Century" will only prove that most Americans stand by the Constitution and law, not corrupt politics or its related weak mindset of those that have relocated to the over-developed Frederick County to save a dime. I left Frederick County several years ago for this reason ... weakness in local government AND the influx of Montgomery County "travelers". You are certainly wrong in that Frederick County has the "best schools in the country". Other counties and states prove that otherwise. It's not the local teachers that are the problem; it's the students and where they came from. Again, ideologies that are corrupt. By the way, when I lived in Frederick County, I voted, and I voted in accordance with the best candidate to support the Constitution and laws. Only until recent time -- when the influx of anti-Constitutionalists and corrupt-minded people -- took up residence in Frederick County did we start to see it fail as a whole. Remember, Montgomery County USED to be Frederick County. Take a look at history and current news. Maybe then you'll figure out that we're that much closer to a second American Civil War. As Frederick City and County governments try to figure out what to do about public safety, traffic congestion and the environment, remember where it started. You said it yourself: Urbana.


Lev928, I said “Urbana has the best schools in the COUNTY”. When I was in High School in rural MoCo, 1955-1958 or so, the History of Frederick County was “KKK” and “Girlie Shows” at the Frederick Fair and Sunday dinner at “Peter Pan”. Remember the Peacocks?


And why would they have the same ideology as the people who remain? MoCo doesn't have affordable housing that doesn't come with terrible schools and nuisance crime. The people who choose Frederick Co. have seen bad government up close...and don't have the wealth to insulate themselves from it. If the local GOP were a "good government" party (as opposed to a NO government party), they'd convert a lot of D's to R's.

The Grape of Wrath

So what keeps you here if taxes and housing are cheaper in Washington and Allegheny Couniesy? It's the fine restaurants, and the feeling of a drug-free secure county brought to us by our sheriff, right?


It is not people changing parties so much as there is 90% more now. It's partly Blaine's fault for what he did to get campaign money from developers.

Obadiah Plainsmen

Yahoo soon Frederick will overtake Baltimore as the murder capital of Maryland.


More fear mongering.


The biggest threat of being murdered in Frederick County is by a family member.


Is that a fact? Sounds like family holiday gatherings are dangerous in your household.

Yes that is a fact. In Frederick County, Md you are more likely to be killed by a family member then by a stranger and the county has a higher then average suicide rate compared to state average.


Silly comment =NONSENSE

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