Welcome to Essential Politics, our daily feed on California government and politics news. Here's what we're watching:

You can find our earlier coverage of the June 7 California primary here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for more, or subscribe to our free daily newsletter and the California Politics Podcast

California's registered voters hit record high ahead of Tuesday presidential primary

 (Los Angeles Times)
(Los Angeles Times)

With one of the most closely watched presidential primary seasons in modern times , California's voter rolls grew by almost 650,000 in the final six weeks of registration. And three of every four new voters were Democrats.

On Friday, Secretary of State Alex Padilla released the final report of voter registration prior to the June 7 statewide primary. The deadline to register for Tuesday's election was May 23.

Of the 646,220 people who registered in the final rush —between April 8 and May 23 — 76% became Democrats.



June 3, 7:29 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly gave the number of people who registered to vote between April 8 and May 23 as 646,2220. The number was 646,220.


California's total voter registration now stands at 17,915,053. That's the largest number ever registered heading into a primary election.

And the rush all happened at the end. In fact, 98% of all the growth in California's voter ranks in 2016 happened in just the last 45 days of the registration season.

"Part of this surge was fueled through social media, as Facebook sent a reminder to all California users to register to vote," Padilla said in a statement. "It is clear that Californians are engaged and excited about this election."

While hundreds of thousands registered to vote, the percentage of eligible Californians who have registered is slightly lower than at the same time in 2012. And it remains lower than its historic highs of a generation ago.

The springtime influx of Democrats has widened the gap between the state's dominant party and other subsets of voters, most notably Republicans.

Republicans now trail Democrats in size by more than 17 percentage points, and Democrats have topped the 8 million mark for the first time. Even so, the GOP ranks did grow slightly over the final few weeks of voter registration — just not as fast as Democrats.

The surprise may have been the slight drop in Californians who are unaffiliated with any party, known as having "no party preference." Often the fastest-growing part of the electorate, some unaffiliated voters decided to join a political party in the final 45 days of registration.

That could be a function of the presidential race. While Democrats are allowing "no party preference" voters to cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders next week, Republicans are holding a closed presidential primary. Only registered GOP voters can participate.

The state's minority political parties all saw their numbers decline, none more than California's American Independent Party. In the weeks following a Los Angeles Times investigation showing widespread confusion about the party's name and being an "independent" voter , AIP membership fell by about two-tenths of a percent.


Hundreds of thousands of Californians have signed up to vote, but who will show up?

Hillary Clinton keeps losing. So how come she's winning?

How much does Hillary Clinton want to win California? She and Bill have over 30 events in 5 days

Live coverage from the campaign trail

Latest updates

More from politics

The 10 biggest issues we're tracking in the California Legislature

Are you an independent voter? You aren't if you checked this box.

Follow every step of the 2016 presidential election with the Los Angeles Times Trail Guide.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World