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Independent Voters Will Soon Outnumber Republicans in California

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla on Monday released the first of three voter registration reports ahead of the June 7 primary election. The report shows that not only does the number of registered No Party Preference voters continue to grow, but the title of second largest voting bloc in California will not belong to the Republican Party for much longer.

According to the report, there were 17,259,413 total registered voters as of January 5, 2016 — an increase of 231,123 from the same point in the 2012 presidential election. According to the secretary of state, this increase is not keeping pace with the growth of eligible voters in the state.

“Only 70.2% of eligible Californians are currently registered,” Padilla said. At this point in 2012, 72.01 percent of the electorate was registered to vote.

“If the election were held today, over 7 million otherwise eligible Californians would be left on the sidelines.  Fortunately, there is still time to register to vote in the June 7 Presidential Primary Election. Whether you’ve recently turned 18, become a new US citizen, or just want to vote for the first time—I urge Californians to register today,” Padilla added.

Of the total number of registered voters, 7,438,655 are registered members of the Democratic Party (up slightly from 2012), but Republicans dropped from 5,170,592 to 4,767,259 in the same time period. Meanwhile, voters not registered with any political party went from 3,617,466 to 4,141,860.

No Party Preference voters make up 24 percent of the registered voting population while Republicans make up 27.62 percent, a 3-point drop from four years ago. At this rate, NPP voters will well outnumber Republicans by the 2020 presidential election.

Looking ahead at the June 7 presidential primary, these 4.1 million voters will face limited choices as they are forced to choose between 3 party ballots: Democratic Party, American Independent, or Libertarian Party. The Republican Party continues to deny independents access to its presidential ballot.

California uses a nonpartisan, top-two open primary for statewide and congressional races, meaning all candidates and voters (regardless of party preference) participate on a single ballot and the top two vote-getters move on to the November general election.

However, California still uses a semi-closed system for presidential primaries, meaning private political parties ultimately get to decide whether or not independent voters can participate in the first integral stage of the public election process.

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