HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Recent data from the Maryland Board of Elections shows that the number of voters in the state choosing to not declare any political party affiliation has increased.

In the last five years, the number of unaffiliated voters statewide has grown more than twice as fast as Democrats, and about four times as fast as Republicans, The Herald-Mail reported

In Washington County, Republicans have seen an increase of about 6.6 percent with a net gain of 2,411 voters between 2009 and June 30. Democrats, meanwhile, have seen a decrease of almost 3 percent with a net loss of 961 during the same time. Unaffiliated voters have experienced an increase by more than 25 percent since 2009 with a net gain of 3,736.

Del. Neil Parrott, chairman of the county’s legislative delegation, said some voters are uncomfortable tying themselves to any particular political party.

“This doesn’t mean that they don’t hold strong, ideological views or lean towards certain candidates of one party or another,” Parrott said. “In fact, it can be quite the opposite, that their personally-held principles are too important to them to subscribe to the ideology of one political party.”

Parrott said a disadvantage for unaffiliated voters is not being able to vote in a primary.

(Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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