Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced Tuesday that nearly 200,000 California citizens registered to vote or updated their information at RegisterToVote.ca.gov on Monday, May 23, the final day to register for the June 7 primary elections. According to the secretary of state, total voter registration is now over 1.8 million.
“Yesterday, we saw the most online registration activity this year, and the second highest total in the nearly four-year history of the online registration site,” said California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “In a single day, 194,655 registrations or updates took place on California’s online voter registration website.”
Young voters in particular are showing elevated interest in voting in the 2016 elections. According to Padilla's office, 42% of the online registration activity on Monday came from Californians aged 17-25.
“It couldn’t be clearer—Californians of all ages want to vote. It is exciting to see so much interest, particularly among young people. For many young people this will be their first time voting and that’s a great thing!” said Padilla.
The large surge in online voter registration and updates to registration only a few weeks before the June primary suggests that interest in the presidential race is still high among many Californians, meaning that turnout on June 7 could be higher than expected.
What this means for the June 7 primary is not entirely clear as it is unknown how these voters registered or changed their registration information. However, if these voters flood their local polling location in June and election officials are unprepared, the California primaries could play out like Arizona and New York.
One lawsuit has already been filed by plaintiffs who allege that some county registrars are not doing enough to educate voters of their voting options, including voters registered "No Party Preference" (independent). Among the allegations is that some counties are instructing poll workers to just give NPP voters a provisional presidential ballot without informing them of all of their options.
If voters are not fully aware of their voting options, the confusion, frustration, and anger we saw in Arizona and New York could carry over to California as well. Only time will tell.