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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 8, 2018
SOS Press Office
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.
“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 RegisterToVote.ca.gov. 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 RegisterToVote.ca.gov is available to California youth who are 16 or 17 and meet the following criteria:
- A United States citizen,
- A resident of California,
- Not currently imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony (for more information on the rights of people who have been incarcerated, please see the Secretary of State's Voting Rights for Californians with Criminal Convictions or Detained in Jail or Prison), and
- Not prohibited from voting by a court because of mental incompetency (for more information, please see Voting Rights: Persons Subject to Conservatorship).
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.