Breaking Down Maryland Democrats

So we’re running a statewide Democratic primary. Let’s start simple. How many registered Democrats are there? That one’s easy: as of September 30, the last monthly report from the State Board of Elections, there are 2,020,200 “active Democrats.”

Active Democrats, that sounds like a complete category, right? Ah, but it isn’t. How do I know this? Long story short, I won a case against the State Board because “active registration” is not equivalent to “registered voters.” There’s a long, sad history of the Board treating inactive voters differently than active ones, in repeated violation of the state constitution. They don’t do that any more, and the last time they tried, I beat them. Wheeee.

But the law still allows them to keep a list of inactive voters for “administrative purposes,” like calculating voter turnout. So when the BOE says, for example, that Talbot County had 17.4% turnout in an election, it’s a bogus number, because it doesn’t include inactives, some of whom show up to vote in any given election. So whatever you think turnout has been in prior elections, it’s actually lower than that.

And before you ask, this isn’t a small number of voters. Let your eyes drift to the far right of that pretty photo. That “inactive” category” is now 302,152 voters right now - higher than it’s ever been. How many are Democrats?  Don’t know, although I have my suspicions that it’s a disproportionate number of minority Democrats. For example, Prince George’s County had only 4.1% (9,722) of the state’s inactive voters in 2009, the year after Barack Obama was elected for the first time, but by 2015 - three cycles later - the PG inactive figure has ballooned to 62,068, 20.5% of the state total. And 72.0% (217,561) of all state inactives are in the Big 5 counties (Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County), which are disproportionately Democratic.

There’s much to discuss about inactives, but for right now, there’s probably an additional 200,000 or more Democrats that could vote statewide than the numbers I’m going to give you by county. I’m going to see if I can get a party breakdown on the county inactives and if I do I’ll give you better numbers.

But ranked by number of active Democratic registrations, here’s the list, with clear breakpoints leaving five groups of relatively like Democratic voter population, and with % of total Dems and TV market listed:

Prince George’s 426,634 (21.1%, DC)
Montgomery 350,489 (17.3, DC)
Baltimore County 296,698 (14.7, BA)
Baltimore City 287,077 (14.2, BA)
Anne Arundel 147,970 (7.3, BA)

Howard 94,259 (4.7, BA)
Harford 62,009 (3.1, BA)
Charles 59,715 (3.0, DC)
Frederick 55,233 (2.7, DC)

Carroll 31,307 (1.5, BA)
Washington 31,250 (1.5, DC)
Wicomico 25,086 (1.2, Salisbury)
St. Mary’s 24,752 (1.2, DC)
Calvert 22,868 (1.1, DC)
Cecil 22,005 (1.1, BA)

Allegany 14,597 (0.7, DC)
Worcester 14,267 (0.7, SAL)
Queen Anne’s 10,565 (0.5, BA)
Dorchester 10,133 (0.5, SAL)
Talbot 9,711 (0.5, BA)

Caroline 6,836 (0.3, BA)
Somerset 6,277 (0.3, SAL)
Kent 5,992 (0.3, BA)
Garrett 4,470 (0.2, Pittsburgh)

DC television market: 6 counties, 985,538 Democrats (48.8%)
BA television market: 11 counties, 974,429 Democrats (48.2%)
SA television market: 4 counties, 55,763 Democrats (2.8%)
PI television market: 1 county, 4,470 Democrats (0.2%)

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