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Voter Participation in California Varies Widely by Type of Election and by Voter Race and Ethnicity

October 29, 2020

Fact Sheet

Authors: Susan H. Babey, PhD, Joelle Wolstein, PhD, MPP, MA, Shana Charles, PhD, MPP

In 2019, 2.75 million California adults reported that they never vote in elections, and an additional 7.7 million reported that they only “sometimes” vote. The combined number of "never" and "sometimes" voters is even higher for local elections, in which 6 million California adults reported that they “never” vote, and an additional 7.4 million reported that they only “sometimes” vote. In addition, the proportion who reported infrequently voting in local elections (52%) is twice as high as for presidential elections (26%). Voter participation rates vary widely by race/ethnicity and these differences can have an important impact in local elections where greater participation by underrepresented groups could influence the results. 


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