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New California Registration Data

Published on March 12, 2013, by in General.

According to each of the 58 county election departments of California, current registration data for each qualified party is: Democratic 7,921,721; Republican 5,216,494; American Independent 475,281; Green 112,881; Libertarian 109,618; Peace & Freedom 61,506; Americans Elect 3,413; unqualified parties and miscellaneous 352,775; no party preference (formerly called “Declines to state”) 3,459,782.

The California Secretary of State will soon release a new registration tally, and that tally won’t match these figures exactly. These figures were obtained by contacting each county elections office. Some counties were more easily able to forward the February 10, 2013 tally data, whereas other counties were not able to do that easily, and so just gave the current tally, which would as of some date in the first twelve days of March 2013. By contrast, when the Secretary of State releases her report, the totals for all counties will be the February 10, 2013 data.

The number of registered voters dropped to 17,713,471. This is because many counties have purged voters who have not voted in either of the last two statewide elections. The purge in Orange County was especially severe, and registration dropped from 1,683,001 in October 2012 to 1,397,665. Orange County registration will rise in the next few weeks as some of the voters who received the postcard will respond that yes, they are still at the same address.

Every qualified political party in California now has a higher share of the registration than it did on the last state tally, the October 22, 2012 tally. The only category that declined as a percentage are the No Party Preference voters, formerly known as Declines to State voters, and also known as independent voters. In raw numbers, because the state registration as a whole declined, all the parties have fewer registered voters now than they did in October 2012, except that the Libertarian Party and Americans Elect have more than they did then. The current total for those two parties is the highest in the history of each of them.

4 Responses

  1. Jim Riley

    California statutes do not recognize any registration status other than (1) affiliated with a party/party preference; and (2) no party preference/decline to state.

    In making reports, the number of voters affiliated with each qualified party is tabulated, as well as the aggregate number of voters affiliated with nonqualified (please note spelling) parties, and those with No Party Preference (see Elections Code 2187).

    “miscellaneous” is an adjective meaning “mixed” or “various”. Use of “miscellaneous” with “nonqualified parties” simply means that the registrations of voters affiliated with the various nonqualified parties are mixed together, and presented as a single aggregated number.

    It is not clear that all California voter registrars regard NPP voters as “independent”. At one time, the registrar in Santa Cruz County was actively encouraging voters to register as “independent” as distinct from DTS. It appears that they are now reporting these voters as NPP, at least to the state.

    I suspect that the surge in voters affiliated with nonqualified parties (sometimes referred as “other” or “miscellaneous”) is due to the registrars in some counties, in particular Los Angeles and Alameda, reporting “independents” as miscellaneous rather than NPP.

  2. Jim Riley

    I think that Orange County has done something more substantial than sending post cards out to inactive voters. The new registration total is down to 2004 levels, after being over 1.5 million since 2006, and 1.6 million in 2008.

    The Orange County voter registrar’s web site notes that they have made extensive use of commercial address sources to track down voters, finding some voters who had missed 8 federal elections and having lived 3 to 8 places in the interim.

    Most of the list maintenance done by counties is optional. The main method is sending postcards to voters, particularly those who didn’t vote in the last election. But an affirmative response is needed to remove a registration. USPS forwarding is only good for 6 months, with an optional 6 month extension. You are also depending on the USPS to check names on what looks like a bulk mailing. Where households have changed, there might be no forwarding by the USPS.

    (Non-)voters can not be made inactive until after they have failed to respond within 15 days. If you look at:

    http://www.ocvote.com/datacentral/

    the registration cliff occurred on February 7, and there were tiny drops after that date, with a small increase in the last few days. So I suspect that there had been a longer term effort to update the voting rolls, which was not implemented until after the election.

    I would think that the number of persons who registered to vote at a given address, then skipped both the 2010 and 2012 elections, still live at the same address, and would respond to a postcard that they were about to be removed from the voting rolls is quite small.

    But it does appear that the purge in Orange County did catch voters whose registration was out of date because they had moved.

    February registration was 83% of the October number; for Republicans 84%, Democrats and Libertarians 83%, American Independents and NPP 82%.

    But Green 73%, Peace and Freedom 67%, and miscellaneous non-qualified parties 69%. In the latter category are likely some Reform and NLP voters who have left the county or state.

    Incidentally, the SOS earlier this month let the contract to create a statewide registration database. Currently, California has 58 countywide registration databases with some coordination and operating under a waiver from the federal government (the statewide registry is a requirement of HAVA).

  3. Deemer from California

    Richard:

    Do you OR anyone else know WHEN the Secretary of State’s Office intends to release the “Official” February 10th, 2013 Voter Registration totals?

  4. Richard Winger

    Dear Jim, thanks for both your comments. You have done good research on this and that helps us all.

    As to when the official report will be out, it is all finished (from the standpoint of the individual who actually prepares it) but tha tperson says the front office of the Secretary of state has to approve it before it is posted, and it is unknown how long that will take.

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