Here’s how California’s electorate has changed over the years – Orange County Register


With the election Tuesday, June 7, we look at California’s electorate.

2022 California voter registration 

California tends to skew Democratic because of the large populations of urban centers. Less-populated areas tend to be more Republican.

The top 10 counties with the most registered voters make up more than 72% of the voter population.

Largest county increase in registration since April 6, 2018Los Angeles 549,816Orange 346,349Riverside 334,394San Diego 264,664San Bernardino 249,791

Largest increase in registration by percentage since April 6, 2018Merced 37.06% (33,544)Riverside 34.67% (334,394)Madera 32.86% (17,717)San Benito 31.35% (8,900)Tulare 28.52% (45,685)



California had a closed primary system until 1996. California passed Proposition 198 in 1996 that would allow the state to vote in an open primary but the Supreme Court overturned it in 2000.Voters approved Prop. 14 in 2010, which is now the current top-two open primary system.

Closed primary: Only voters registered with a particular party may vote in that party’s primary election. So if you are registered as a Democrat, you can only vote for Democratic candidates. If you’re a registered Republican, you can only vote for Republican candidates. If you are registered with a minor party, you can only vote in that party’s primary — if they hold one. The top vote-getter for each party moves on to the general election. Unaffiliated/independent voters cannot vote in closed primary elections.

Open partisan primary with nonpartisan registration:Unaffiliated/independent voters may choose a major party ballot line in the primary; either Republican or Democrat. Voters who are already affiliated with a political party — Republican, Democrat or minor party — can vote only in that party’s primary.

Open partisan primary with nonpartisan registration:Voters are not required to formally affiliate with a party. Every voter can choose a candidate — Republican or Democrat — to vote in the primary.Top two open primary:Top two open primaries are used for statewide elections in Washington and California, and for Nebraska’s legislature. In this type of election, there is no Republican or Democratic primary. There is one primary, with all candidates and all parties (or no party) listed. Every voter can participate and vote for every candidate, regardless of party. The top-two vote-getters move on to the general election.In Alaska, the top four advance.

Sources:,, California Secretary of State



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