DB12:025
January 31, 2012

Contact: Shannan Velayas
(916) 653-6575

Secretary of State Bowen Reports
First Voter Counts after 2011 Redistricting

SACRAMENTO - The first statewide Report of Registration since new decennial legislative and congressional maps were drawn shows that more than 17 million Californians are registered to vote, up from 15.5 million four years ago.

"The new report shows 21.2 percent of California voters have no political party preference, a new all-time high," said Secretary of State Debra Bowen, the state's chief elections officer. "The percentage of voters who have no party preference (NPP) – previously known as decline to state voters – has steadily increased in recent years. The previous record high of unaffiliated voters was 20.4 percent of all registered voters, reported in March 2011."

The Report of Registration includes data gathered 154 days before the June 5 Presidential Primary Election and 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 complete report, which includes voter registration data for a variety of political subdivisions, is on the Secretary of State's website at www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ror/ror-pages/154day-presprim-12.

Registering to vote is easier than ever, thanks to the Secretary of State's online fillable form at https://www.sos.ca.gov/nvrc/fedform/ which just needs to be printed, signed and mailed. (The form is even pre-addressed to the registrant's county elections office.) Californians can also pick up a voter registration form at any U.S. post office, public library or county elections office. Voters can check their registration status through a portal at www.sos.ca.gov/elections/registration-status.

The last day to register to vote in the June 5 primary election is May 21. The last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot is May 29.

The registration totals for the seven qualified political parties and voters who have no party preference follow.

Political Party January 1, 2008 January 3, 2012
# Registered % of Total # Registered % of Total
American Independent 323,876 2.08 % 428,560 2.52 %
Americans Elect N/A N/A 3,165 0.02 %
Democratic 6,636,067324 42.71 % 7,429,684 43.63 %
Green 131,185 0.84 % 111,319 0.65 %
Libertarian 81,548 0.52 % 93,300 0.55 %
Peace and Freedom 57,199 0.37 % 59,012 0.35 %
Republican 5,197,897 33.45 % 5,170,592 30.36 %
No Party Preference 3,011,371 19.38 % 3,617,466 21.24 %
Miscellaneous 97,903 0.63 % 115,192 0.68 %
TOTAL 15,537,046 100 % 17,028,290 100 %

California 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. There is one "off-year" update released in February of years with no regularly scheduled statewide election.

About California's Primary Elections

California’s Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act, which took effect January 1, 2011, renamed partisan offices as voter-nominated offices, which include state constitutional, state legislative, and U.S. congressional offices. Under the Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act, all candidates for voter-nominated offices are listed on one ballot and only the top two vote-getters in the primary election – regardless of party preference – move on to the general election.

The Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act does not apply to candidates running for U.S. president, county central committees, or local offices.

Qualified political parties in California may hold presidential primaries in one of two ways: a closed presidential primary, in which only voters indicating a preference for a party may vote for that party’s presidential nominee; or a modified-closed presidential primary, in which the party also allows NPP voters to vote for that party’s presidential nominee. The Democratic and American Independent parties will permit NPP voters to request their 2012 presidential primary ballots; the Americans Elect Party has chosen not to participate in the June 5 primary; and the other four qualified parties will hold closed presidential primaries.

Keep up with the latest California election news and trivia by following @CASOSvote on Twitter. To subscribe to state election news via email, RSS feed or Twitter, go to www.sos.ca.gov/multimedia.

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