This database contains indexes to voter registration lists from various counties in California from 1900-1968.
The first voter registrations in California took place in 1866 as the result of a legislative act. The act called for “the registration of the citizens of the State, and for the enrollment in the several election districts of all the legal voters thereof, and for the prevention and punishment of frauds affecting the elective franchise.” The voter registers are also known as the Great Registers. Prior to 1866, voter records consisted of county poll lists.
In 1872 another law required that counties publish an index or alphabetical listing of all registered voters every two years. This usually happened on the even numbered years.
In California, women were granted the right to vote in 1911. Therefore, the first year women will appear in the registers is in 1912.
About the Records:
This database consists primarily of the voter indexes published every two years, including indexes to the Great Registers, to affidavits for registration, and to precinct registers.
Voter registrations were kept on the county level by the county clerk. Indexes to these records are organized according to county and voting wards and/or precincts. Within each precinct voters are listed alphabetically according to surname. Information listed about each voter may include:
- Political Affiliation
Why Use Voting Records:
Voter registers are great records to use as “census substitutes”, since they will usually contain the names of heads of households and other adults. They are useful when census records are either not complete or non-existent, and are usually available in between census years. Because voter registers were published on a fairly consistent basis and are generally state-wide, they are useful for tracking individuals over time and place.
Counties and Years Included in this Collection:
Below is a list of the counties and years for which records are included in this database. Most of the counties only published their records every two years, on the even numbered years. However, a few counties, including San Francisco, published them yearly for a few years at a time, so will also include some odd numbered years. Even though the records were published every other year, the below list only indicates the overall year range coverage and also which even numbered years, if any, are missing from this collection.