Local

California's millennial, Latino registered voters surge — along with their influence

Unofficial numbers show the state voter turnout remained high in this year's general election, with millennials and Latinos surging in numbers and influence.
Unofficial numbers show the state voter turnout remained high in this year's general election, with millennials and Latinos surging in numbers and influence.
Patrick Semansky/AP

Listen to story

00:53
Download this story 0MB

County election officials this week submitted their final vote counts from the presidential election to the Secretary of State, producing an estimated turnout of 75 percent of registered voters casting ballots in California.

The results won't be certified until Dec. 16, but the turnout rate so far impresses political data guru Paul Mitchell.

"The fact that you flooded the voter file with 4 million new registrants, predominantly Latinos, millennials and people who are more transient and move more often, and still got 75 percent turnout is pretty astounding," said Mitchell, head of the research firm Political Data Inc.

While that turnout is about the same for the presidential general elections in 2008 (79 percent of registered voters) and 2012 (72 percent), it’s notable, Mitchell said.

The state population has grown in the past four years, he said, and yet the turnout remains high.

According to Mitchell, the California electorate has changed rapidly in the past four years. While Generation X'ers and baby boomers made up the majority of registered voters in 2012, now millennials make up the plurality.

"The largest demographic group in the voter file is now millennials," he said. In early 2017, Mitchell said data will become available on who exactly showed up to vote, which will give a clearer picture of voter turnout in California. 

The surge in registered millennials will likely mean growing in influence in elections ahead.