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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 2019
SOS Press Office
SACRAMENTO, CA – Today Secretary of State Alex Padilla published reports on the use of conditional voter registration and provisional ballots in the November 2018 Statewide General Election.
“2018 saw the implementation of two major election reforms to better help Californians exercise their voting rights—the Voter’s Choice Act and ‘Same-Day’ Voter Registration for citizens who missed the registration deadline,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “Over 57,000 Californians who would have otherwise missed participating in our democracy, were able to register and cast their ballots through the ‘Same-Day’ voter registration process. And ‘Same Day’ voter registration was particularly popular in counties that adopted the Voter’s Choice Act. When citizens have more options to register and vote, democracy wins.”
“This report also dispels the myth that provisional ballots are either thrown out largely rejected by county elections officials. Over 91% of provisional ballots—an important safety net for voters—were counted after being carefully processed by elections officials,” Padilla added.
Conditional Voter Registration
2018 marked the first election that Californians could take advantage of ‘Same-Day’ voter registration, which is referred to as conditional voter registration in state law. Conditional voter registration is a safety net for Californians who miss the deadline to register to vote or update their voter registration information for an election. Eligible citizens who miss the deadline can go to their county elections office or a designated satellite location to register and vote conditionally. Their ballots are processed once the county elections office has completed the voter registration verification process. Voters can complete the conditional voter registration process 14 days before an election all the way through to that Election Day.
Counties that implemented the Voter’s Choice Act—Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento, and San Mateo—led the way in Conditional Voter Registration usage. Sacramento and San Mateo were the top two counties, respectively, for conditional voter registration. In the five Voter’s Choice Act counties every vote center was required to offer conditional voter registration. These counties accounted for 7% of the state’s registered voters, but over 32% of the state’s conditional voter registration usage.
Provisional Voter Registration
In California, provisional ballots serve as a fail-safe method of ensuring all voters who show up to the polls can cast a ballot. If a voter shows up to the polls and their name is not on the roster, they can still cast a provisional ballot.
In November 2018, nearly 1 million provisional ballots were cast, and 91.7% of these ballots were counted after elections officials processed them to ensure they were valid.
All provisional ballots are carefully checked by county elections officials to confirm that the person who voted provisionally is both registered and that they did not cast a ballot by mail or at another polling location on Election Day.
Note on Data
These reports were created using data provided to VoteCal, California’s statewide voter registration database, from each of California’s 58 counties. The Secretary of State continually works with each of California’s counties to provide accuracy.
The following data is available: