California Braces for Massive Primary Turnout

California elections officials are finally anticipating a groundswell of voter participation this June after years of declining turnout. More than 600,000 people have already registered or re-registered over the past few months, according to Secretary of State Alex Padilla, foreshadowing a “surge” of voters in the primary elections to be held on June 7.

Though the prospect of record civic participation comes as welcome news, Padilla has warned the governor that county election agencies could easily be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of participants. He is asking the state to provide an additional $32 million to help the counties deal with the increased workload ahead.

“The good thing is that there’s interest in the election. That’s what we’re all about,” said Neal Kelley, President of the California Assn. of Clerks and Elections Officials. But “I’m not going to lie to you,” he added. “I think there will be some counties who I think will be short of resources.”

In addition to the rise of online voter registration, intense interest in the 2016 election cycle and the Republican primary in particular is expected to drive a number of people to the polls. For the first time in decades, California could be a decisive factor in the outcome of a presidential race. After all, if any of the GOP candidates fails to clench the 1,237 delegates required for the nomination before California’s primary, the Golden State could ultimately decide the winner.

Read more about the efforts to deal with an expected surge in California voter participation here.

Image Credit: Flickr User notbrucelee, via (CC BY-SA 2.0)