California’s record voter registration a hopeful sign for Sanders

California’s final voter registration report released on Friday by Secretary of State Alex Padilla shows that a record number of state residents are now eligible to cast ballots in the Golden State’s June 7 primary.

In total, California now has nearly 18 million registered voters, accounting for 72 percent of eligible citizens, after nearly 650,000 people signed up to become official civic participants between April 8 and May 23.

More significantly, 76 percent of those registering during the last six weeks before the state deadline affiliated themselves with Democrats. 45 percent of all California voters are now registered with the Democratic Party, compared to 27 percent with Republicans, while 23 percent are unaffiliated.

The apparent increase in political interest in California is encouraging for Bernie Sanders’ prospects on Tuesday, as the Vermont senator tends do better when voter turnout is high, particularly among registered independents.

Under state party rules, voters who register as having “no party preference” are allowed to participate in the Democratic primary.

Additionally, 53 percent of new registrants who submitted paperwork between January and April were millennials, aged 18-34, Sanders most popular demographic.

“Part of this surge was fueled through social media, as Facebook sent a reminder to all California users to register to vote,” State Secretary Alex Padilla said in a statement. “It is clear that Californians are engaged and excited about this election. Now the next step is to turn out and vote!”

While 17,915,053 is a new state primary record for registered voters, the percentage of those eligible to participate in California elections has actually slightly decreased since 2012.

The percentage of Golden State voters registered with the Republican Party has also decreased by three points since 2012, while Democratic registration has increased by approximately 1.5 percent during the same period of time.

According to an average of the latest polls, Clinton leads Sanders in California by the slightest of margins — 48 to 46 percent.


[Los Angeles Times] [RealClear Politics] [Photo courtesy]