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New online voter registrants reflect Democratic, youthful edge

An early batch of California’s new online voter registrations show Democrats over Republicans about 2.5-to-1, with nearly a third of the new registrants reporting an affiliation with neither major party.

Clearly, younger voters are making greater use of online registration than older voters: Of the 50,899 early online registrations, some 14,400 were under the age of 26, nearly seven times as many who were over the age of 65. Of younger voters, about six out of 10 – more than 8,600 — were living at home with at least one parent.

The figures were compiled by Political Data Inc., a nonpartisan voter information company based in Southern California. Through the first week of October, about 220,000 Californians had made use of online voter registration, according to the state. The legislation authorizing the new online process was authored by Sen. Leland Yee, a San Francisco-area Democrat.

The early online registrations reflect “more Democratic and decline-to-state voters, and less Republicans,” said PDI vice president Paul Mitchell.

“There’s a combination of things here,” he added. “More young people are registering to begin with, and you’re not going to see a new flood of voters coming in over the age of 59. “They (younger voters) get emails and see it on Facebook, and it’s easier for them to register online rather than having to get up and go to the registrar.”

There is little indication yet that Democrat-heavy online registrants, who mirror the general electorate in many categories including ethnicity, will affect the outcomes in GOP-dominant districts.

In Republican-rich Orange County, for example, 41 percent of the new registrants were Democratic, while 25 percent were Republican. Fully a third, 33 percent, did not identify themselves with either major party. In Placer County, which includes solid Republican turf east of Sacramento, the new registrations should 34 percent for Republicans and Decline to State, while Democrats were reported at 32 percent. In heavily Republican Riverside County, Democrats out-registered Republicans online by 46 percent to 27 percent. Decline to state also were 27 percent.

“What really is going to be interesting is how these online registrants actually will vote,” he said. “You never know if this is going to be a high-turnout population or a lower-turnout

population.”

Some major counties, led by Los Angeles, have not reported their online registrations. One county that did report is tiny Sierra, a picturesque, mountainous and sparsely populated county in the Sierra Nevada. There, one person registered online — a Democrat. 

According to the state elections officer, California has about 17.3 million registered voters out of about 23.8 million people who are eligible to vote. Democratic registration is about 43.3 percent, Republicans 30.1 percent, minor parties about 5.3 percent, and those who decline to state any party affiliation  are 20.1 percent.


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