Independent voters on the rise

The number of voters who decline to state a party preference has reached a record high in California, according to Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

The new registration report released today shows 3.5 million — or 20.3 percent — voters have declined to join a political party.

These numbers are greater than the previous record raw-number high of 3.4 million set in February 2009, and the previous record percentage high of 20.18 percent from January 2010, Bowen said.

The figure could factor in next Tuesday’s mid-term elections. Some polls show independent voters breaking toward Republicans although it will depend on how many DTS voters cast their ballots.

Read on for the full press release.

SACRAMENTO – Secretary of State Debra Bowen today released the final Report of Registration for the November 2, 2010, General Election showing a record high 3.5 million voters have declined to state their party preference.  The report also shows that nearly 300,000 Californians have registered to vote since September 3, bringing the state’s total number of registered voters to nearly 17.3 million, up from 15.8 million at this same time four years ago.

The report reflects updates to voter registration rolls in California’s 58 counties, 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.

The registration report shows 3,500,696 or 20.3 percent of voters have declined to join a political party.  These numbers are greater than the previous record raw-number high of 3,465,345, set in February 2009, and the previous record percentage high of 20.18 percent, set in January 2010.  Since the close of registration in the 2006 General Election, the percentage of eligible people registered to vote has increased from 69.9 percent to 73.4 percent.

“I am thrilled to see so many people registered to vote for this important election.  Now every person has to take the next, most important step and vote,” said Secretary Bowen, California’s chief elections officer.

“Remember: every single ballot must be turned in by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.  Postmarks do not count.  If you’re a vote-by-mail voter who still has not mailed your ballot, you should play it safe and deliver it to any polling place in the county in which you are registered.”

The complete October 18, 2010, Report of Registration can be found on the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ror/ror-pages/15day-gen-10.

For a certified list of all candidates in legislative, congressional, judicial and statewide contests, go to www.sos.ca.gov/elections/2010-elections/2010-election-information/november-2010/certified-list.pdf.

By law, statewide voter registration updates must occur 60 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 years with no regularly scheduled statewide election. The registration totals for the six qualified political parties and voters who have declined to state their political affiliation follow.

October 18, 2010                    October 23, 2006

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

American Independent          413,032            2.39 %                       315,151           1.99 %

Democratic                        7,620,240         44.08 %                     6,727,908         42.48 %

Green                                   113,835           0.66 %                        141,451           0.89 %

Libertarian                              91,111           0.53 %                          84,093           0.53 %

Peace and Freedom                57,776           0.33 %                          59,139           0.37 %

Republican                         5,361,875         31.02 %                     5,436,314         34.33 %

Decline to State                  3,500,696         20.25 %                     2,968,489         18.74 %

Miscellaneous                        127,318           0.74 %                        104,563           0.67 %

TOTAL                            17,285,883           100 %                   15,837,108           100 %

Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.  For more information visit www.sos.ca.gov/elections.

To sign up for election news and trivia via Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/CASOSvote.

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

Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    These are interesting statistics, which to me show a stste-wide dislike for partisan politics.

  • John W

    Ralph, your observation is the conventional wisdom. But Dems increased their share of total registered voters. Their + 892 thousand accounts for a whopping 62% of the 1.4 million total increase. DTS accounts for 37% of the total increase. Some of the Dem increase is probably due to the Dems’ aggressive voter registration drive running up to the 2008 election. However, since Repub registration went down, the data suggest to me that most of the DTS increase came from former registered Republicans, for whatever reason. So, it’s not surprising that independents (i.e. DTS) are breaking Repub this year. Repubs who have shifted to DTS may not be able to stomach the increasingly hard right posture of the CA GOP, but they are still Repubs at heart.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    John, Carly’s no party loyalty ads seem to recognize what you’re writing. Have you noticed that Election Day is “The Day of the Dead” this year?

  • steve weir

    Our DTS voters are lagging behind in returning their ballots….stay tuned and I’ll give you the stats on Monday…

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    I’m curious why DTS voters are lagging behind returning their ballots. Is anyone conducting a poll?

  • steve weir

    As of Friday’s mail, Contra Costa has a 43.9% return rate for vote-by-mail, our Decline to State rate of return is 34.7%