New voter #s: Registration up, parties down

I certainly hope all of you vote in next Tuesday’s election – all 17,153,699 of you.

That’s the total number of California’s registered voters, up by more than a million from this time four years ago, according to the new report issued Friday by Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

Partisanship continues to decline: The percentage of voters registered with a qualified political party decreased from 79.7 percent to 77.7 percent, while those with no party preference continued to tick upward from 19.4 percent to 21.3 percent over the past four years.

But perhaps there’s some good news for civic engagement: The percentage of registered voters compared to the number of people eligible to register has increased from 70 percent to 72.3 percent over the past four years.

Friday’s report reflects data gathered after registration closed May 21 for the June 5 primary, with updates to voter rolls in all 58 counties including removal of registrants who have died, moved out of state, or been determined to be ineligible to vote.

bowen.gif“If you are one of the millions of people registered to vote in the state, find your polling place on Tuesday and prove those pessimistic prognosticators wrong by driving up voter turnout for this important primary,” Bowen said in a news release.

“If you have a vote-by-mail ballot and still have not mailed it, remember that every single ballot must be turned in to county elections officials by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day and postmarks don’t count,” she said. “At this point, be safe and hand-deliver your vote-by-mail ballot to your county elections office or any polling place in the county in which you are registered.”

Polls are open on Election Day from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; some county elections offices will be open over the weekend for early voting.

The Democratic Party saw its numbers decrease just a bit from 43.75 percent to 43.39 percent of all registered voters from May 2008 to now; the Republican Party saw a more pronounced decrease, from 32.53 percent to 30.24 percent.

Among the state’s minor parties, the Libertarian Party gained a tiny bit of ground, going from 0.49 percent to 0.55 percent, as did the American Independent Party, which went from 2.06 percent to 2.53 percent. The Peace and Freedom Party held rock-steady at 0.35 percent, and the Green Party declined a bit from 0.75 percent to 0.65 percent.

State law requires statewide voter registration data updates 154, 60 and 15 days before each primary election, and 60 and 15 days before each general election. An “off-year” update is released in February of years with no regularly scheduled statewide election.

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.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    I hope the smokers turn up at the polls.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Bottom line: Nobody but news junkies, rabid partisans and politicos give a flyin rat ‘s rear about the primary.

  • DanvilleDemocrat

    I would be curious how much that .45% increase in American Independent Party voters is folks who believed they registered as “Decline To State”. Not impugning on these voters’ ability to read the registration form, but the news media constantly calls/labels these voters “independents” and even Gavin Newsom’s wife made this mistake.