In the same week that Secretary of State Debra Bowen issued her off-year report of voter registration, UC Berkeley's Center for Latino Policy Research released a study of the 839,297 California voters who registered online last fall during the five-week window between the opening of the online registration service and the deadline to register for the presidential election.
The Berkeley study finds there was essentially no difference between the racial/ethnic makeup of those who registered online and that of the electorate at large. In addition, it finds that the online registration option seemed to be particularly well received by Latinas and Asian American women.
Perhaps the its most striking finding, however, comes from an analysis of online registrations in San Diego and Alameda counties that details the neighborhoods from which those registrations originated. What it found was that online registration was heavily used in lower-income neighborhoods.
"This strongly suggests that online registration is not simply being used by affluent, already likely voters, but rather that it was less affluent eligible voters who most took advantage of opportunity to register online," the report concludes.
As for the new report of registration, it suggests that, except for Orange County, most counties did not make significant efforts after the presidential election to clean up their voting rolls. Registration statewide dipped by just 190,000 between Oct. 22, 2012, and Feb. 10, 2103. An aggressive effort in Orange County to track down registered voters who no longer live at the addresses at which they are registered accounted for just about the entire statewide drop.
In a number of counties, including Ventura, the numbers actually show an uptick in registration since the presidential election. About 4,200 additional voters have been added to the county roll -- about 1,900 Democrats and about 1,900 "no party preference" voters. The other new voters were all affiliated with minor parties, as the Republican total dropped by 132.
For the first time, the percentage of no-party-preference voters in Ventura County topped 20 percent. In the partisan arena, Democrats now hold a 2.6 percentage-point advantage countwide, 38.6 percent to 36.0 percent..