Election 2016: Registration, Early Voting Both Massive
November 3, 2016
The 2016 General Election is just days away now, and counties up and down the state are reporting higher than average early voting and expanded voter rolls due to a combination of factors that has made this election cycle unlike any other. Presidential election years normally have higher turnout but the addition of 17 statewide ballot measures plus local races make for an unusually large ballot and high voter interest.
Registered voters in California now total over 18 million with a massive wave coming in before the June 7 primary and leading up to next week’s general election. San Mateo County, for example, now reports almost 400,000 registered voters, a new record, and earlier this week, Riverside County announced a milestone: one million registered voters on the county voter roll. Early voting there, and elsewhere is also ahead of pace from previous years.
Budget trailer bill Assembly Bill 120 (2016) provided a one-time allocation to counties for elections administration due to the increased demand leading up to the June primaries at the same time that signatures on ballot initiatives had to be processed. Roughly $16 million will be appropriated but counties reported more than $37 million worth of requests for relevant activities.
Despite a lot of campaign rhetoric to the contrary, state and local elections officials insist that this election will be conducted fairly and that “rigging” an election is very difficult. And one final note, the new law passed in the last legislative session allowing “ballot selfies” does not take effect until January. So posting a picture of yourself with a marked ballot is still considered illegal on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.