The number of California’s registered voters has swollen to a record 19,432,609, or 78 percent of eligible voters, Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office reported recently. Further, California’s elections czar has begun registering teens early, offering the pre-registered an automatic voting right as of their 18th birthday. In anticipation of this November’s ballot, Santa Barbara voter numbers have also grown since 2015.
Most teens can prepare to step into the governing populace when they pursue a driver license at age 16. State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson recognized the enfranchisement opportunity back in 2014, when she got Senate Bill 113 passed which lowered the voter pre-registration age from 17 to 16. Now, people can be automatically enrolled in the right to vote — provided they pass all tests of citizenship and are not otherwise barred — once they achieve their 18th year. The forms are available at registertovote.ca.gov and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The City of Santa Barbara is one of the few electorates in California that holds an odd-numbered-year election, but since the last one in 2015, the state as a whole turned bluer, and the city did, too. California gained 1.7 million new registered voters, 1.6 percent more of whom registered Democrat. The state Republican Party lost 2.1 percent, bringing total percent GOP to 25.9 compared to 44.8 percent Dems.
Santa Barbara holds its next election in November of this year, during which residents will elect a mayor and councilmembers for districts 4, 5, and 6. The city voter ranks have increased by about 5,000, with 18 percent going to Democrats and less than one percent to Republicans. The Greens lost 23 percent, and “no party preference” was picked by 12 percent more. The last day to register for that election is October 23.