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Republican and Democratic voter shifts continue in Stanislaus

There’s still time to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election, and voter registration drives by various political groups are continuing. The last day to sign up is Oct. 20.
There’s still time to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election, and voter registration drives by various political groups are continuing. The last day to sign up is Oct. 20. AP

Stanislaus County voters are consistently inconsistent when it comes to political-party preference.

The battle between Republicans and Democrats for registration dominance has flipped three times over the past dozen years, and Stanislaus voters increasingly prefer no party at all.

There’s still time to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election, and voter registration drives by various political groups are continuing. The last day to sign up is Oct. 20.

The most recent Stanislaus tally, done Oct. 1, shows 212,431 residents are registered to vote. Republicans have taken the lead with 41.5 percent of those voters compared with 37 percent who are Democrats.

All other political parties combined account for less than 5 percent of the county’s voters. One in six Stanislaus voters – nearly 17 percent – have no party preference.

Back in 2000, there were more Democrats in Stanislaus than Republicans, and only about 1 in 10 voters declined to state their political party.

By 2004, Republicans had taken the registration lead. But they lost it again by the 2008 presidential election.

During the depths of Stanislaus’ recession in 2010, there were 15,000 more registered Democrats (43.4 percent) than Republicans (36.8 percent).

But it’s been downhill since then for the Democrats, who have lost more than 20,000 party members in the county over the past four years. The GOP now is back on top, with a nearly 10,000-voter edge.

Stanislaus County’s registrar of voters, Lee Lundrigan, said numerous organizations have been active this fall signing up blocks of new voters.

She said Assyrian groups, campaign committees backing Turlock council candidates and Stamp Out Sprawl advocates of controlled growth are among them.

A Latino voter mobilization effort also is underway by Mi Familia Vota, a nonprofit group that had volunteers and paid staff members go door to door to register Stanislaus residents this summer.

“Over 1,700 voter registration forms were turned in for Stanislaus,” said Sergio Lara of Modesto, who is Mi Familia Vota’s California deputy director.

Lara said his group assists legal immigrants with what’s needed to become U.S. citizens, helps citizens register to vote and encourages Latinos to cast ballots.

“We’re targeting low-propensity Latino voters,” Lara explained. “We’re trying to engage communities that historically haven’t participated as much in elections.”

Lara said his organization focuses on immigration issues and urges Latinos to “vote for the interest of their community and their family.” When registering people to vote, Lara said, “we definitely encourage them to vote by mail.”

Lundrigan also advocates voting by mail, and her office will start sending out those ballots Friday to voters who have requested them. Mail-in ballot requests must be received by Oct. 28.

Stanislaus also will have 159 polling places around the county Nov. 4. Lundrigan said the county still needs to hire additional poll workers, who will be paid $95 for working that day. Call (209) 525-5233 for more information about those jobs.

To find out which polling place to go to, voters can go online to StanVote.com.

Eligible adults can register to vote until Oct. 20. They can do so by filling out paper forms, available at many locations, or by completing the online form at the California Secretary of State’s website.

Lundrigan said a lot of detailed information about the Nov. 4 election and voting procedures is in the sample ballots recently mailed to voters.

More information also is available by calling ( 209) 525-5200.

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