Associated Press Published

West Virginians Switch Political Parties in Large Numbers

Many West Virginians have been switching which political party they are affiliated with.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the most people have switched from Democratic to Republican as the 2016 primaries have neared.

Data from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office shows that statewide, 7,706 people switched from Democrat to Republican and 1,507 people went from Republican to Democrat.

All numbers have increased compared to 2012 data. In Kanawha County, the number of voters switching from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party quintupled. In Putnam County and the state as a whole, it quadrupled.

There are three major, potential reasons for the increase in party changes — the ease of switching parties online, the state’s transition to a Republican state and the rise of presidential candidate Donald Trump.