New voter reg stats show DTS, Dem gains

Decline-to-state and Democratic voter registration have grown while Republican voter registration has fallen since an equivalent pre-gubernatorial primary report in 2006, Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s office reported today.

From Jan. 3, 2006 to Jan. 5, 2010, voters declining to affiliate with a political party have grown from 18.18 percent of the state’s total voters to 20.18 percent, an all-time high for California and more than twice what it was 20 years ago; similarly. Meanwhile, Democratic registration rose from 42.7 percent to 44.6 percent while GOP registration fell from 34.7 percent to 30.8 percent.

It looks to me as if, unsurprisingly, most of the Democratic gains happened in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election; I see Democratic registration stood at 44.4 percent and Republican registration stood at 31.37 percent in the last report before that November’s election.

Today’s report also shows more than 16.9 million Californians are registered voters, up from 15.8 million at this same time four years ago.

“Whether or not you choose to register with a particular political party, the most important choice is to register to vote and then to make your voice heard on Election Day,” Bowen said in her news release. “While there is still plenty of time – until May 24 – to register to vote in the June 8 primary, why wait?”

The report includes data gathered 154 days before the June 8 Statewide Direct Primary Election and reflects updates to voter registration rolls, including the removal of registrants who have passed away, moved out of state, or have been determined to be ineligible to vote, as well as the addition of new registrants.

California has a “modified closed primary” system that lets each party decide whether to let decline-to-state voters take part in its primary election. The Democratic and Republican parties will let decline-to-state voters request their ballots in the June 8 primary; the other four qualified parties (American Independent, Green, Libertarian and Peace & Freedom) won’t.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.