We’ve heard before that elections are often won in the primary. With the redistricting in our state and the number of districts that favor one party over another, this will certainly be the case during this upcoming election cycle.
Our local news announced in early 2013 that Arizona’s Independent voters now outnumber Republicans and Democrats. Therefore, it is vitally important that Independent voters engage and vote in the primary. I’ve found that many friends registered as Independents are not aware of the process on how to vote in the primary nor the influence of their vote in determining the outcome of elections. The state recently released data that only 10 percent of Independent voters vote in the primary. Just consider the impact of their voice!
I’ve listed below a few tips and resources gathered by the staff at the Arizona Town Hall.
1. Independents - Choose the primary with the greatest impact on the elections: If you are one of the growing number of Independents, select the party that dominates in your area. For example, if your district is predominantly Republican, choose the Republican primary. If your district is primarily Democrat, choose the Democratic primary. Independents can choose which primary they want to vote in at the polls or request an early ballot for the primary of choice by contacting their county recorder. In Pima County, visit https://www.recorder.pima.gov/earlyballot/default.aspx
2. Make it Easy to Vote: Sign up to automatically receive a mail-in ballot (which you can also drop off at any polling place on election day) by registering for the Permanent Early Voting List at http://www.recorder.pima.gov/pevl.aspx
3. Vote for the Best Candidate: Research candidates using nonpartisan national websites like www.votesmart.org or our local voter education website www.votaaz.org. The Arizona Republic also just launched an interactive website that gives Arizona candidate information based on your address at http://azvotes.azcentral.com/build.do. Pay attention to how candidates say they will solve a problem. Is it realistic? Does it model the leadership style you believe to be the best for the state? What do organizations who champion the causes you support say about the candidates?
Here are a few important dates to take note of:
July 28 - Deadline to register for the primary election.
July 31 - Primary election early voting begins.
Aug. 26 - Primary Election day.
Oct. 6 - Deadline to register for the general election.
October 8 - General Election early voting begins.
Nov. 4 - General election day.
Please share this article with friends and colleagues that you know are registered Independents. At the Tucson Hispanic Chamber, we are educating our members on the importance of registering to vote and participating in the elections. We also discuss issues that are important to our more than 1,000 businesses and organizations and meet with candidates to discuss our chamber’s priorities. To learn more, visit www.TucsonHispanicChamber.org, or via our Twitter feed (THispanicChmbr).
(Editor’s Note: Lea Marquez Peterson is the President/CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.)