For more than two decades, the number of voters not affiliated with a recognized political party in Arizona has steadily grown. According to Secretary of State Ken Bennett, the state’s “independents” have now become the largest bloc of voters in the state.
Arizona has four recognized political parties: Republican, Democratic, Libertarian and Americans Elect. Registrants who decline to indicate a party preference or register with parties without recognized status are classified as “Other” by election officials but are widely referred to as “independents.”
Of the state's 3.2 million voters, the number of voters registered without a party preference or with independent parties is 1,134,243, an increase of 10,245 since the last report in January. 1,130,170 voters are Republicans and 960,701 are Democrats, a decrease of 1,093 and 2,127 respectively. Libertarians make up a little less than one percent of the state’s total registration with 26,595 and the Americans Elect Party has enrolled 332 voters since joining the state's other recognized political parties in 2011.
“Today’s announcement will come as no surprise to most people around the state,” said Secretary Bennett.
Over the past few years, trends had clearly indicated the number of independent voters would eventually surpass those of Arizona’s political parties.
“The rise of the independent voters in Arizona mirrors national trends of voter registration. With more than forty percent of Americans identifying themselves as independents, our state’s nonaffiliated voters are seemingly less concerned with partisan rhetoric rather than results.
“It’s important to note, Arizona’s open primary system allows independents to vote in primary elections. Historically speaking, this group of voters has not participated at a high rate in primaries, and we encourage better turnout amongst this important group of voters. Important choices lie ahead for our state and independents have an opportunity to directly influence the direction of our state government.”
The latest voter registration figures compiled by county, congressional and legislative district are available on the Secretary of State’s website, www.azsos.gov or by calling 1-877-THE-VOTE.