Monthly Archives: October 2012

Arizona’s Voter Registration Numbers Surge in Advance of 2012 General Election

With less than a week to go before the 2012 General Election, Arizona’s Secretary of State Ken Bennett has announced that voter registration has risen to 3,124,712.  An increase of 24,137 registered voters since the 2012 Primary Election in August.  Notably, each of the state’s five recognized parties added to their rolls.

Of the state’s 3.1 million voters, 1,120,992 are Republicans and 952,931 are Democrats.  Libertarians make up a little less than one percent of the state’s total registration with 22,086 while 4,863 voters are currently registered as members of the Green Party.  Since joining the state’s recognized parties in 2011, the Americans Elect Party has enrolled 237 voters.

For the first time since 1990, registration of Arizona’s “independent” voters, or those who have not designated one of the state’s five recognized parties, has declined to 1,023,603.  A decrease of 2,031.  Declines in active voter registration are commonly attributed to routine list maintenance being performed by county recorders.

The latest voter registration figures compiled by county, congressional district and legislative district are available on http://www.azsos.gov or by calling 1-877-THE-VOTE.

The right to vote is one of the most cherished rights we have as United States’ citizens.  Our system of government has remained strong throughout history because it is based on the fair and democratic election of our representatives.

The individuals you help choose to represent you at the local, state and federal levels of government will make decisions that can significantly affect your life and the lives of your family, friends and neighbors.  By exercising your right to vote, you help shape the future of your country, state and community.  Remember, it’s your vote, your voice, be heard!

As early voting continues around Arizona, voters should be aware that their ballot must be received by their local county recorder by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.  Early voters should return their ballot to any local polling place within their county if they haven’t mailed their early ballot by Thursday, November 1.  Ballots received after the deadline will not be counted.

Voters can check the status of their returned early ballot by visiting voter.azsos.gov.  Additionally, they can locate their polling place and check their registration by visiting the site which is accessible on most mobile devices and smartphones.

Polls open at 6:00 a.m. on November 6, 2012 and close at 7:00 p.m.  State law mandates that results will not be announced until 8:00 p.m.

 

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New State Librarian Named By Arizona Secretary of State

Joan Clark to Lead State Agency

Today I announced that I have Joan Clark of Chandler as Arizona’s new state librarian.  She  was chosen after an exhaustive nationwide search and replaces GladysAnn Wells who in retired in 2011.  The State Library, Archives and Public Records is a division of the Secretary of State’s office and serves the legislature and public by providing access to research and information; additionally, it works to ensure Arizona’s history is documented and preserved.

Most recently Clark had been interim director for the Arizona Capitol Museum and Deputy Director of the State Library. Previously she served as program manager for the implementation, development and delivery of the three-year Arizona Equal Access Libraries Initiative to help libraries assess and respond to changing community needs. Clark has been centrally involved in winning high-profile grants for the library and museum.

Prior to joining the Arizona State Library, Clark had extensive marketing and management experience with AT&T Corporation. She has held leadership positions in business research, corporate training, marketing and strategic planning, in addition to representing AT&T as a liaison to industry associations.

As a Brookings Institution Congressional Fellow, Clark served on the legislative staff of U.S. Congresswoman Nancy L. Johnson. Representative Johnson guided federal legislation in the areas of public housing, childcare, women’s issues and funding for the arts.

A native of New Jersey, Clark’s career began there as a public school teacher. She is a Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude graduate of Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and she holds a Masters of Library Science degree from Rutgers University.

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October 19, 2012 · 2:14 pm

Arizona’s Voter Turnout Rates

Historical Averages Seemingly Indicate High Turnout for 2012 General Election

Watched any TV lately?  Opened your mailbox?  Answered your phone? Driven to work?  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you likely have noticed it’s election season!  I’ve seen so much political advertising over the past few months I’ve started to hear ‘I approve this message’ in my sleep.

We are all aware of the endless series of political commercials, mail pieces and phone calls promoting Candidate X and criticizing Candidate Y.  But what impact will these various methods of communication have on voter turnout?

The Grand Canyon State has nearly 5 million eligible voters.  About 3.1 million Arizonans are registered to vote and only 28% of those registered participated in the state’s primary election in August.  With such dismal turnout in the primary, what should we expect for November’s election?

History seems to indicate a significant increase from the August primary.  In years where Arizonans have had the opportunity to cast their ballot for president, we see the highest rate of voter participation.  Since 1974, Arizona has experienced approximately a 73% turnout rate in presidential elections and 57% in off years.  In 1980, with Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter at the top of the ticket, turnout surged past 80% while in 2008, the Obama v. McCain race generated a 77% turnout.

While a 77% turnout rate is a significant number, it can be better and we have taken steps to improve the voting process to make it as convenient as possible.  We’ve made it possible to find your polling place, track the status of your early ballot and check your registration all from most smartphones.  Electronic poll books have increased efficiency and early balloting, or voting by mail, has proven to be an enormously popular initiative.

In 2008 nearly 53% of statewide votes were cast by early ballot.  Just two years later the percentage rose to 61%.  Now, we have about 1.5 million voters on the state’s Permanent Early Voter List (PEVL).   While those numbers are impressive, they are not nearly as remarkable as the percentage of those on PEVL who actually vote.  In 2008, 91% of early ballots were returned.  During the midterm election of 2010, that rate decreased to 76%.  With such a large number of voters on PEVL for this Presidential election we could see near record levels of participation.

Partisan voter turnout also can provide some insight as to what to look for in the general election.  Four years ago 81% of registered Republicans voted in November.  Democrats turned out at a rate of 73% and 69% of so-called “Independents” voted.  Green and Libertarian party members voted with 84% and 76% respectively.

Over the last 100 years, Arizona has had a handful of elections that came down to one vote.  Could this be the year we have another?  Could you be that one vote that makes the difference?

While numbers and percentages can help us understand historical trends and patterns, each vote could be the difference between a winning candidate and a losing campaign.  It’s your voice. It’s your vote.  Make it count!

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Supreme Court Will Hear Voter Registration Case

Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to hear Arizona’s case on voter registration requirements comes as great news to many, including Secretary of State Ken Bennett who promised to defend Arizona’s Proposition 200 all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

Proposition 200, when passed by Arizona voters in 2004, required that voter registration applicants provide documentary proof of citizenship. In addition it required that voters provide proof of identity at the polls on Election Day.

We are very happy that the Supreme Court decided to hear our case.  In our view, citizenship is the foundation from which eligibility is derived.

The National Voter Rights Act specifically talks about establishing citizenship and we feel strongly that our law is constitutional and look forward to presenting our case to the nation’s highest court.

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October 15, 2012 · 9:05 am