Voter Participation

Study Schedule


Thursday, May 25, 2017
9:30 a.m., California State Capitol
Room 2040

Public Hearing

Agendas are posted two weeks prior to their hearing date.

Description of Study

The Little Hoover Commission is reviewing voter participation in California.  According to the California Secretary of State, more Californians – some 19 million – registered to vote in the November 2016 presidential election than ever before.  And more of California’s registered voters – approximately 14.6 million – exercised their right to cast a vote.  Despite the historic high registration and turnout for the 2016 presidential election, 25 percent of registered voters and nearly half of California’s 24.8 million eligible voters did not participate in the election.

In recent years, California lawmakers have consistently passed reforms intended to increase voter registration opportunities, improve access to the electoral process, and ensure that vote-by-mail ballots are counted, among others.  Some notable reforms include pre-registration for 16-year-olds, conditional same day voter registration at certain locations, a new Motor Voter program to automate voter registration for individuals when obtaining or renewing identification cards or driver licenses with the DMV and a new option for counties to conduct all-mailed ballot elections and use vote centers and ballot drop-off locations prior to election day rather than operate polling places only on election day.

With this study, the Little Hoover Commission will review the landscape of voter participation in California to better understand who is participating in California’s elections, who is not and some of the reasons individuals who are eligible to vote do not register or turn out to cast a ballot.  The Commission also will review the status of recently enacted reforms aimed at easing the voter registration process and consider what else can be done to ensure that new programs intended to make it easier for eligible Californians to vote get implemented effectively.  Through its public process, the Commission also intends to study best practices in other nations, states and localities to explore and consider opportunities to further increase voter registration and turnout rates in California.

If you would like more information regarding this study, please contact Tamar Lazarus at or at 916-445-2125. To be notified electronically of meetings, events, or when the review is complete, please send a request to

Click here for a list of additional previous studies on general government.