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In California, Democratic voter registration climbing

FILE -- A polling place is seen during the California primary in Bakersfield, Calif., in June 2016. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Democratic voter registration in California has climbed in the past two years while Republican registration has decreased, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced Wednesday.

The percentage of voters registered as Democrats increased roughly 1.5 percentage points to nearly 45 percent. Republican registration declined more than two percentage points to just under 26 percent. Nearly one in four California voters are registered with no party preference.

Padilla's report reflects registration data through Feb. 10. It reveals a record 19.4 million Californians are registered to vote. The percent of eligible Californians registered to vote increased more than five percentage points to nearly 78 percent.

Registration has continued to increase since the November election, Padilla said.

"Typically voter registration declines after an election," Padilla said. "It is clear that Californians are engaged and want to be active participants in our democracy."

Although the percentage of eligible voters who are registered has stayed relatively flat since the election, the total number of people registered has increased slightly since the registration deadline in October, said Mindy Romero, director of the California Civic Engagement Project at the University of California Davis. She pointed to recent expansions in electronic voter registration as one reason there hasn't been a significant decline following the election.

This year is also unusual because Californians are still feeling the effects of Donald Trump's victory in the presidential contest and are still reacting, both positively and negatively, to the results, she said.

"The election really isn't over for a lot of people. The election really isn't over in our news cycle. It really isn't over in the political consciousness," Romero said. "We're still seeing the importance of voting."

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