I see two things here. The first is that this voter registration happened along with a signature gathering effort for a very contentious local issue. I believe that a major reason for it's success stems from that fact.
That begs the question as to why the registration was skewed so solidly to the Green Party. There are two factors at work here. The first is the fact that those who signed the Initiative were probably more inclined to think about government in a manner similar to what the Green Party is all about. The second is the fact that there is a profound dis-satisfaction with both major parties in the nation and specifically in California. Schwarzenegger, presumably the standard bearer for the Republican Party, seeks to distance himself from its more ideological positions and is as frequently criticized by his own party members as he is by the opposition Democrats.
The dissatisfaction of the electorate has been well documented by the Public Policy Institute of California. p. 5
Political party membership has also declined over the past 16 years. The percentage of California adults registered as major party voters has dropped from 54 percent to 43 percent. There were 12 million voters registered as Democrats and Republicans in 1990; there are 12 million today. Almost all the growth in registration rolls has been in “decline to state”—independent voters who choose not to declare membership in one of the two major parties. For the first time in modern California history, the majority of adults do not belong to one of the major parties.
It is our challenge as to what we will do about it. Tim has suggest one course of action.
A Report From Monterey
Last month, January '07, the Land Watch organization in Salinas, filed a referendum on the pro-developer, Monterey County General Plan passed by the Board of Supes, 4 - 1, at its Jan 3rd Meeting... This General Plan approves major development throughout the Salinas Valley, which will create, (critics charge) a southern extension of Silicon Valley and San Jose, which is about an hour north... Obviously, billions of dollars are at stake in the developement of this plan...
To contest the vision of such an environmental nightmare, (where water is scarce, where roads and schools are lacking, where prime farm land, in the heart of "America's Salad Bowl", is being swallowed up by urban sprawl) Land Watch and it's allies hired a crew of about 15 signature gatherers, who collected 15,000 sigs in about 11 days, or 6,000 more than the required 9,000... and my crew, including 8 Greens, were significant contributors to this effort...
I bring this up because, in the process of collecting signatures for this issue, we were also able to talk to Monterey county voters about broader political issues, and at times register them into the GPCA... We also collected the names and contact information of about 15 new Greens who are interested in being involved, in one way or the other, with GP discussions, meetings and/or potential action -- and hopefully to revitalize Monterey's GP local...
From my personal experience, i found voters still fed up with both the Democrats and the Republicans, and either willing to give a 3rd party a try, or wanting to register in some form, independently of the current 2-party duopoly. The following are the registration figures from my personal efforts, and i find they continue to speak eloquently about the true political aspirations and values of average voters and citizens statewide...:
Overall, we registered about 40 Greens, and Monterey's Green Registrations jumped from 1,323 to 1,355, for a net gain of 32 Greens, in the time between the county's 12/19/06 registration report to the 1/23/07 report...
Total Registered 52 Greens 24 (46.2%) Democrats 13 (25.0%) Decline to State 9 (17.3%) Republicans 4 ( 7.7%) Other 2 ( 3.8%)
Imagine if we could sustain a spirited registration drive statewide!
"I am well aware that there is no revolutionary action without revolutionary theory, but I am essentially a man of action. Since my student days I have always been in the front line of the struggle, and this has taught me a lot" -- Salvador Allende