Central Valley voter registration numbers, like rest of CA, see spikes

150 150 Niki Woodard

photo courtesty of Flickr user KClvey

There’s no doubt about it, online registration has had a huge impact on voter registration. 

In San Joaquin County, about 3,500 to 4,000 online registrations came in on Monday, October 22—the final day to register to vote in California. “That’s exceedingly large,” said San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters, Austin Erdman. “We [the elections office] were pretty shocked that so many registrations came in on the last day,” he added. 

Similarly, Merced County has seen a large spike in voter registrations, thanks to online registration.  Of the approximate 5,000 voter registrations in Merced County in the past two months, roughly 62% of them have been online, according to Stacey Cotter, Assistant Registrar of Voters for Merced County.

In the Central Valley, online registration has contributed to an overall swell of voter registration in San Joaquin, Fresno and Kern Counties. San Joaquin County has seen an increase of more than 22,000 new registrants this year, compared with four years ago. That’s more than an 8 percent increase (and counting). 

Fresno County, as of June 2012, already has more registered voters than they did for the 2008 general election, and that’s not counting the 10,543 online registrations that have come in since September 19, in addition to paper registrations. Kern County, as of date, is already up almost 18,000 registrations (and counting) from the 2008 election, and that’s on top of a 21,906 increase in registrations from 2006 to 2008. 

The San Joaquin Valley is certainly flexing its democratic muscles this year. 

Erdman said, “I don’t think population growth is the factor here. I think it’s that people care and that registration is easier now.” 

Though Tulare, Kings, Madera and Merced Counties are observing registration numbers similar to previous years, they’ve definitely seen a lot of activity online. 

Rachelle Simas, Elections Manager for Kings County, said, “We got about 300 new ones [registrations] between October 11th and the 22nd. Most of them were online, about 25% were actual cards in the mail.” 

Many of the county registrar officers noted that online registrations seem to be favoring younger demographics, but actual analyses aren’t available yet. 

Simas noted that they’ve received about 1000 registrations from the University of California at Merced zip code, approximately doubling the figure from 2008.  

Another trend, though not necessarily new, is that people love to procrastinate. Both Tulare and Fresno Counties kept their election offices open until midnight on the October 22 registration cut-off date. Tulare County saw about half of its traffic come in after hours, with 325 of 652 cards received between 5:00pm and midnight. An additional 800 registrations came in online. Fresno saw 366 paper registrations during normal business hours and 201 after hours on Monday.  

We look forward to seeing the official numbers, which will start being released on Tuesday, October 30. 

An Unofficial Look at Voter Registration Numbers in the Valley







San Joaquin

October 2012, estimates







June 2012



2008 Election









Niki Woodard

All stories by: Niki Woodard