Republican Voter Registration Tanks in California as Number of No-Party Voters Climbs

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A file photo shows a voter with a Los Angeles County ballot. (Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

Californians may be more disenchanted with political party labels than at any time in modern history, as new voter registration data show another shift away from party affiliation coming at the same time as a presidential race that exposes deep partisan divides nationwide.

The report issued by Secretary of State Alex Padilla on Monday finds that 24% of California voters now officially have “no party preference,” the term used by elections officials to describe independents. That’s up almost three percentage points since the last presidential election in 2012.

While the migration away from Californians picking formal party labels has been evident for most of the past decade, the trend has picked up speed since 2008.

“The Democratic share of registrants has been flat, the independent share has been climbing fast, and the Republican share has been sinking just as fast,” said Eric McGhee, an elections researcher at the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

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