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Where Are The Independent Voters In California?

There are over 5.6 million registered No Party Preference (NPP) voters in California. By 2020, this number will likely be even closer to 6 million.

To put that into perspective, California has more registered voters not affiliated with a party than 29 states and the District of Columbia have people living in them.

Imagine the impact these voters could have on future presidential primaries -- if, that is, they were allowed an equal and meaningful vote.

Unfortunately, because of California’s confusing and unconstitutional semi-closed primary system, they are denied this opportunity.

The Independent Voter Project (IVP) has offered the Democratically-controlled state legislature a simple, fair, and easy solution to give NPP voters a voice, while maintaining the parties’ private rights of association.

IVP is also preparing a lawsuit that will ask the court to allow the secretary of state to provide this public ballot solution on the presidential ballot.

2020 is going to be a major year for California because it moved its presidential primary from June to March, meaning it is going to have a much larger presence in the mainstream conversation on the parties' presidential nomination processes.

It also means California’s primary type is going to get national attention, along with the impact it has on voters and the process. And, it is important to note that where the media is most likely to focus its attention are the biggest hotspots in voter disenfranchisement.

The following are the 5 top counties in No Party Preference registration in California. Note: the list doesn’t just purely consider total number or total percentage of registration. It considers both.

1. Los Angeles County

Photo Credit: Chonas /

It is impossible to ignore LA County. We are not talking about the largest percentage of the overall electorate. However, LA is home to over 1.5 million registered NPP voters -- the largest overall number by a mile.

And like the state, NPP voters make up the second-largest voting bloc in the county:

Democrat: 2,682,019 (49.70%)

No Party Preference: 1,553,974 (28.79%)

Republican: 899,159 (16.66%)

Interesting to note: In 2016, of the 400,000 permanent absentee NPP voters in LA County, only 25,000 (6.25%) received a Democratic crossover ballot. Yet two-thirds of statewide NPP voters surveyed said they intended to vote in the Democratic presidential primary.

2. Santa Clara County

Photo Credit: Uladzik Kryhin /

Silicon Valley isn’t just the home of the world’s biggest tech companies, it also has the highest percentage of independent voters of any county in California. 34.48% of Santa Clara County’s registered voting population are registered NPP.

Santa Clara County includes the cities of Santa Clara, San Jose, Palo Alto, Cupertino, and Mountain View.

Here is how the county’s voter registration breaks down:

Democrat: 405,470 (45.26%)

No Party Preference: 308,769 (34.46%)

Republican: 151,213 (16.88%)

3. San Diego County

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone /

San Diego is not just America’s Finest City, it is also one of California’s most independent cities, and the county that shares its name has the second-largest total NPP population in California, and third-highest percentage of total registered voters.

Here is how the voter registration breaks down in San Diego County:

Democrat: 623,925 (35.71%)

No Party Preference: 552,538 (31.62%)

Republican: 475,149 (27.19%)

The Independent Voter Project authored and submitted a reform that eliminates the incumbent protection scheme of being able to end elections in the primary, while protecting the rights of all voters in citywide (Measures K, 2016) and county (Measure D, 2018) elections.

Both measures passed with over 60% of the vote.

4. San Francisco County

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone /

The Bay Area in general has large independent voter populations. If we went purely on percentage of registered voters, nearly every county on this list would be located in the Bay Area.

Where these counties fall a little short, though, compared to LA and San Diego are in the number of total registered voters. San Francisco comes in at number two in total percentage of voters, but does not come close to having the numbers San Diego has.

Here is how the voter registration in San Francisco County breaks down:

Democrat: 280,182 (56.78%)

No Party Preference: 162,219 (32.87%)

Republican: 31,823  (6.45%)

5. Orange County

Photo Credit: Jon Bilous /

Like LA, it would be hard to keep Orange County off this list. It would not make the top 5 in percentage of total registered voters. However, it is not far off, and has the third-largest number of NPP voters in the state.

Orange County includes the cities of  Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine, and Huntington Beach.

Here is how the county’s voter registration breaks down:

Republican: 541,711 (34.04%)

Democrat: 529,651 (33.28%)

No Party Preference: 453,343 (28.46%)

Combined, these 5 counties alone are home to over half the state’s registered NPP voting population Other honorable mentions include San Mateo (126,738 NPP voters, 31.30% of registered voters), San Bernardino (254,778, 26.44%), and Riverside (272,857, 25.73%).

ADD YOUR NAME: Give Independents an Equal Vote in Presidential Elections

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