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March 8, 2018
SOS Press Office
(916) 653-6575

Nearly 90,000 Youth Have Pre-Registered to Vote in California 


SACRAMENTO, CA California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced today that a total of 88,700 16- and 17-year-olds have pre-registered to vote in California since the program launched in September 2016. California youth who pre-register have their voter registration automatically activated when they turn 18. 

Click here to view the total number of pre-registrations by county and political party preference.

“I’ve visited dozens of high schools across California, and students throughout our state have told me they can’t wait to cast their first ballot. The numbers back them up. Nearly 90,000 California youth have said they want to be engaged, active participants in our democracy by pre-registering to vote,” said Secretary of State Padilla. “I expect pre-registration numbers to increase even more once California Motor Voter goes live and eligible 16- and 17-year-olds are automatically pre-registered to vote when they apply for a state driver license or ID. I look forward to continuing our partnership with school officials, community organizations and advocates to encourage young people to pre-register at But most important is the fact that young adults are digitally savvy and recognize that online pre-registration reflects their expectation of a smooth and convenient means of registration."

Of those California youth who completed the pre-registration process with the California Secretary of State:

  • 43.65% (38,721) registered “No Party Preference”
  • 37.39% (33,165) registered “Democratic”
  • 10.36% (9,187) registered “Republican”
  • 2.33% (2,065) registered “American Independent”
  • 1.56% (1,380) registered “Libertarian”
  • 1.03% (917) registered “Peace and Freedom”
  • 0.64% (568) registered “Green”
  • 0.50% (441) registered “Other”
  • 2.54% (2,256) registered “Unknown”

The new California Motor Voter law launching in April will automatically pre-register all eligible 16- and 17-year-olds who apply for a state driver license or ID at the Department of Motor Vehicles. This will increase pre-registration significantly. Increased interest in pre-registration is expected to grow electoral participation among California 18-24 year-olds in the coming elections. 

Online pre-registration at is available to California youth who are 16 or 17 and meet the following criteria: 

16- and 17-year-olds who do not have a signature on file with the DMV, through a driver license or state ID card, will need to complete the pre-registration process by printing a paper form and mailing it to their county elections office. Applicants will be sent confirmation when their voter pre-registration application is processed, or they will be contacted if more information is needed to confirm their eligibility. 

In 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 113 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) which allowed voter pre-registration beginning at age 16 once the California’s statewide voter registration database, VoteCal, was certified. VoteCal was certified in September 2016, and pre-registration was initially only offered through paper forms.


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