California Voter Registration

October 31, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A record number of Californians have registered to vote in the November 4th election.New numbers from the Secretary of State show a record number of Californians registered to vote. 17.3 million are now eligible to cast their ballot Tuesday in this state, that's up nearly 2 million from January.

The surge could delay election results, if turnout is high. "It's a good thing if we have so many voters that it takes us a little longer. I know we're all impatient, but I would love to see 100% turnout and have us counting until 3 to 4 in the morning," said CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

The biggest beneficiary of the frenzied voter registration this year has been the Democratic party, with more than half a million more members. Their gain has been at the expense of Republicans, who now make up only 31% of registered voters. And a record number of new voters declined to choose any party.

Bob Mulholland/CA Democratic Party: "Barack Obama is a candidate they can believe in, and the economic crisis and the wars that never end are driving people to say, 'I am going to the polls and voting Democrat."

What's also interesting about the new registration statistics is the number of counties that went from red to blue this year, meaning flipping from majority Republican to Democrat. San Bernardino, Ventura and, Stanislaus counties now give the edge to Democrats. Del Norte and San Diego were strong Republican counties, but they are now just slightly ahead of Democrats in registration.

The GOP says registration numbers haven't really mattered in California that voters still chose Republicans. They cite 2006 when Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger won re-election. "35% of registered voters were Republicans, yet Governor Schwarzenegger received 56% of the vote."

Kevin Roberts/CA Republican Party: "When elections are about issues and leadership, Republicans outperform what their numbers suggest."



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