Almost 18 million Californians can participate in Tuesday’s election, according to updated registration numbers released Friday, which show that the state’s voter rolls grew by almost 646,000 in the weeks before the primary registration deadline.
The nearly 17.92 million voters registered as of May 23 are the most ever heading into a primary election, Secretary of State Alex Padilla says, linking the surge in part to Facebook’s registration reminder to its users last month. Democratic registrants represented more than three-quarters of the net gain in voters, reflecting deep interest in the presidential primary contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
“It is clear that Californians are engaged and excited about this election,” Padilla said. “Now the next step is to turn out and vote.”
Democrats added almost 492,000 registrants since April 8, to 8.03 million voters, representing 44.82 percent of the electorate, up from 43.65 percent in April.
Republicans added 136,000 voters during that time, and represent 27.29 percent of the electorate, down from 27.52 percent in April. The number of voters with no party preference is virtually unchanged, with their share of the electorate declining slightly, to 23.32 percent.
Counties with the largest net registration increase since April were Los Angeles (168,249), San Diego (75,098) and Orange (65,632). Those counties yielded the most new Democratic sign-ups, as well, with Democrats representing all but about 22,000 of Los Angeles County’s registration gains. Orange County had the most Republican registrants (19,239).
Only registered Republicans can vote in the GOP’s presidential primary. The presidential primaries of the Democratic, American Independent, and Libertarian parties are open to voters without a party preference.
Any no-party voter who wants to cast a ballot in those parties’ primaries can request the party’s ballot at a polling place or early voting site. It is too late to get a party ballot by mail.
Last week, a federal judge rejected a lawsuit by Sanders’ supporters that sought to extend the registration deadline and allow no-party voters to write in Sanders.