Voter registration up for Tuesday’s primary

Nearly three out of four eligible voters in California have registered to cast ballots in Tuesday’s election, and fully a fifth of the electorate has declined to state a party preference, according to the state’s elections officer. About 1.4 million more Californians are registered now than in February 2008, the year of the last presidential primary election.

Of California’s 23,713,027 eligible voters, some 17,153,699 are registered to vote, or about 72.34 percent of those eligible, the secretary of state’s office reported. The numbers cover registration through the May 21 deadline.

Of those registered, 43.4 percent identified themselves as Democrats, 30.2 percent said they were Republicans and 5.1 percent listed an affiliation with a minor party.

Some 21.3 percent registered without listing a party preference, continuing the trend of a steadily expanding proportion of decline-to-state, or independent, voters. The percentage of decline-to-state registration has doubled in California since the mid-1990s.

The current level of 17.15 million registered voters is about a million more than the 16.12 million voters who registered for the June 2008 state primary election and about 1.4 million more than those registered for the Feb. 5, 2008 presidential primary. According to the secretary of state, those are the largest primary-to-primary registration increases since at least 1996.

Los Angeles County, which has the state’s largest electorate, reported 4.46 million registered voters. Just over half, 50.68 percent, identified themselves as Democrats. With the exception of Los Angeles and Imperial counties, the rest of the top 10 counties with Democratic registration all were in northern California – Alameda, San Francisco, Marin, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Sonoma, San Mateo and Contra Costa.

San Francisco also reported the highest level of independent voters – 30.6 percent.

Republican registration was highest in rural or suburban counties in central and northern California, led by Modoc at 50.05 percent, Lassen at 48.39 percent and Placer at 48.17 percent.

Seven parties qualified for Tuesday’s election – Democrats, Republicans, Americans Elect (which will not be participating), American Independent, Green, Libertarian and Peace and Freedom.

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