Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s final tally was based on registrations her office received through its new online system as well as reports from the Lake County’s Registrar of Voters Office and other county elections offices throughout the state.
Bowen’s office said 18,245,970 Californians, or 76.7 percent of those eligible, are registered to vote in Tuesday’s presidential election.
While the percentage of eligible Californians who are registered has remained relatively steady for more than a decade, the raw number of registrants is a record high in the state, Bowen reported. California’s voting population has increased by 941,879 people since this time four years ago.
Bowen’s office said the previous record high for California was 17,334,275 registrants, set in February 2009.
The last day to register was Oct. 22.
Lake County Registrar of Voters Diane Fridley said her office delivered the final voter registration numbers for the Nov. 6 election to Bowen earlier this week.
The final numbers Fridley provided to Lake County News showed that approximately 34,938 people are registered to vote in this month’s presidential election. Bowen’s tally on Lake County comes up two votes short, at 34,936. Fridley said they received two additional ballots and are updating the state.
The final number Fridley reported is down slightly from the 35,154 voters who were reported by Fridley’s office as registered for the November 2008 presidential election.
Of the 2012 presidential election’s registered voters in Lake County, 16,068, or 45.9 percent, are registered to vote at polling places, and 18,647, or 53.3 percent, cast their ballots as absentees, or vote by mail, according to Fridley.
Bowen reported that this year’s voter registration figures did not beat the dramatic registration surge in the 2008 presidential election season.
While voter registration always increases significantly in the final weeks before a presidential election, registration activity in September and October 2012 was less robust than in the 2008 election cycle, according to Bowen’s report.
In the final 45 days before California’s voter registration deadline four years ago, nearly 1.2 million people registered to vote; this year 986,290 people registered to vote in that 45-day timeframe, she said. A large number of new voters used the Secretary of State’s new online registration system.
“Seeing a record number of Californians registered to vote is wonderful, but there are still too many eligible people skipping the electoral process altogether,” said Secretary of State Debra Bowen, California’s chief elections officer. “Registering to vote is easier now than it was four years ago, yet fewer people actually registered in this final 45-day window than did in 2008. This makes it clear that it’s not just a question of making voter registration easier; it’s really about what inspires people to care about their democracy and be part of the decision-making process.”
Based on Bowen’s report, the Democratic Party has the largest number of registered voters in California, 7,966,422, or 43.6 percent, followed by Republicans, 5,356,608, 29.3 percent; no party preference (known prior to 2011 as “decline-to-state”), 3,820,545, 21 percent; American Independent, 477,129, 2.6 percent; miscellaneous, 336,196, 1.8 percent; Green, 115,034, 0.6 percent; Libertarian, 108,736, 0.6 percent; Peace and Freedom, 61,987, 0.34 percent; American Elect, 3,313, 2.6 percent.
Lake County’s registration picture looked similar to that of the state.
Voters registered as Democratic total 14,279, or 41 percent; Republican, 9,662, 28 percent; no party preference, 8,625, 25 percent; American Independent, 1,398, 4 percent; Green, 471, 1.35 percent; Libertarian, 271, 0.78 percent; Peace and Freedom, 157, 0.45 percent; other, 71, 0.20 percent; Americans Elect, 2, 0.01 percent.
Polls will be open on Tuesday, Nov. 6, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. All ballots, including vote-by-mail ballots, must be received by county elections officials by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
“Registering is just the first step. Now it’s time for the next two important steps: getting informed and voting by Election Day,” Bowen added.
The highest voter turnout for a presidential election in California was 88.4 percent in 1964, she reported.
The complete report on registered voters, which includes voter registration data for a variety of political subdivisions, is at www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ror/ror-pages/15day-general-12 .
Email Elizabeth Larson at [email protected] . Follow her on Twitter, @ERLarson, or Lake County News, @LakeCoNews.