Record number of Californians register to vote

This just came out from the Secretary of State: A record number of Californians — 17.3 million — have registered to vote.

Decline to state voters continue to expand their share of the electorate while Democrats posted a 1.4 percentage point gain since 2004. Republicans lost ground as the party’s share declined 3.3 percentage points in the same time period.

Here is Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s press release:

SACRAMENTO – More than one million Californians have registered to vote since September 5, catapulting the state’s total number of registered voters to an all-time high of more than 17.3 million.  That’s according to Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s final report of registration for the November 4 General Election, which was released today.

“It’s great to see so many Californians taking an active role in their democracy,” said Secretary Bowen, California’s chief elections officer.  “Voter interest in this historic election is enormous and I expect to see a record number of Californians cast ballots on Tuesday. Thanks to everyone – including community groups, elections workers, campaigns, schools, and businesses – who helped register so many new California voters.”

The final report includes data gathered through the October 20 close of registration for the general election.  It reflects updates to voter rolls, including the removal of registrants who have passed away, moved out of the state, or have been determined to be ineligible to vote, as well as the addition of new registrants.

The state now has 17,304,091 million registered voters – almost 747,000 more than it had at this time before the general election four years ago.  The percentage of people who are eligible to vote and are registered is 74.6% now; it was 75% just before the 2004 general election.

The previous voter registration record in California was 16.6 million in February 2005.

Registration has been climbing all year, with more than 1.7 million new voters registering since January.

Following are the registration totals for the six qualified political parties and voters who have declined to state their political affiliation.

October 18, 2004 October 20, 2008

Political Party # Registered % of Total # Registered % of Total

American Independent              326,763              1.97 %                 370,405          2.14 %

Democratic                             7,120,425             43.00 %               7,683,495         44.40 %

Green                                     160,579              0.97 %                 118,416          0.68 %

Libertarian                             89,617         0.54 %                   83,574         0.48 %

Peace and Freedom                       68,110         0.41 %                   56,350         0.33 %

Republican                             5,745,518             34.70 %               5,428,052         31.37 %

Decline to State                       2,925,901             17.67 %               3,444,923         19.91 %

Miscellaneous                             120,360        0.55 %               118,876            0.69 %

TOTAL                        16,557,273         100 %            17,304,091             100 %

By law, voter registration updates must occur 60 days and 15 days before each general election, and 154, 60, and 15 days before each primary election.  There is one off-year update released in February of non-election years.

The complete October 20, 2008, Report of Registration is on the Secretary of State’s website at http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ror_102008.htm.

The polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.  For Secretary Bowen’s list of key election tips for Californians, go to http://www.sos.ca.gov/admin/press-releases/2008/DB08-099.pdf.

To view this and other Secretary of State press releases, go to http://www.sos.ca.gov/admin/news-releases.htm.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen