California had more than 18.25 million people registered to vote as of early last month, the most in state history, election officials announced Wednesday.
The total is certain to rise by the Oct. 24 registration deadline for next month’s election, amid a presidential race and several high-profile statewide ballot measure campaigns.
California had about a million fewer registered voters at a comparable point before the 2012 presidential election, the Secretary of State’s Office said.
“This is a major milestone,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement, linking the increase in voters partly to registration efforts on social media and “relentless outreach” by campaigns, businesses, community groups and election officials.
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The total voter registration in the state increased from 17,259,680 in September 2012 to 18,251,826 in September 2016.
Republicans’ share of the electorate declined by almost 1 percentage point from January, while Democrats’ share increased by about 2 points. Some of the party’s largest gains came in legislative and congressional districts held by Republicans targeted for defeat next month, Wednesday’s report shows.
In Orange County’s 65th Assembly District, Democratic registration grew by almost 5 points since Jan. 6. Assemblywoman Young Kim, R-Fullerton, is running for re-election in a rematch against the Democrat she ousted two years ago, Sharon Quirk-Silver.
In San Bernardino County’s 40th Assembly District, Democratic registration increased by 4.34 percentage points. Assemblyman Marc Steinorth, R-Rancho Cucamonga, is running for re-election against Abigail Medina.
And in Congress, Democrats overtook GOP voters in Republican Reps. Jeff Denham’s 10th Congressional District and Steve Knight’s 25th Congressional District. They padded their edge in Rep. David Valadao’s 21st Congressional District. Republicans, though, mostly maintained their large registration advantage in Rep. Darrell Issa’s 49th Congressional District.
The most at-risk Democrat this fall is Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove. Democrats held a nearly 5-percentage-point registration edge in Sacramento County’s 7th Congressional District as of Sept. 6, an increase of about 2 points from January.