Republican? Democrat? Independent? Will it matter next year?
According to Secretary of State Ken Bennett, the latest voter registration figures show that out of 3.1 million registered voters, the majority are Republicans, followed closely by Independents. Democrats trail in at the third position.
Here are the numbers:
- Republicans: 1,130,164
- Independents or no party preference: 1,041,523
- Democrats: 946,974
- Libertarians: 22,272
- Green Party: 4,872
- Americans Elect Party: 168
Of course, all of those numbers might not make any difference in the future if the Open Elections Initiative passes in November. That committee turned in 365,486 signatures, well over the requirement of 259,213 signatures for an Amendment to the Arizona Constitution.
Part of that proposed amendment reads, "ALL QUALIFIED VOTERS SHALL BE GUARANTEED THE UNRESTRICTED RIGHT TO VOTE FOR THE QUALIFIED CANDIDATE OF THEIR CHOICE IN ALL ELECTIONS. NO VOTER SHALL BE DENIED THE RIGHT TO VOTE FOR THE QUALIFIED CANDIDATE OF HIS OR HER CHOICE IN A PRIMARY OR GENERAL ELECTION BASED UPON HIS OR HER PARTY AFFILIATION OR LACK THEREOF. VOTERS SHALL BE PERMITTED TO STATE THEIR PARTY PREFERENCE (IF ANY) IN THEIR OWN WORDS ON THEIR VOTER REGISTRATION FORM, AND SHALL NOT BE LIMITED TO SELECTING FROM A LIST OF RECOGNIZED PARTIES OR AFFILIATIONS."
"Most voters, regardless of their individual beliefs, are simply tired of hyper-partisanship, exrtreme political views and the endless ideological debate that now dominates governing process. Voters want government to focus on what's really important - education, jobs, and sound economic policies. Opening our election process up to more voters will force candidates and elected officials to do just that," said Lea Marquez Peterson, President and CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
But, if this amendment were to pass, there will actually be less choice at the ballot box in the General Election, as there will only be a choice of two candidates per open seat. In other words, candidates from the Libertarian, Green or Americans Elect Party will find it nearly impossible to qualify for the ballot in the general election, held in November.
Proponents of the legislation believe that it will reduce gridlock. "Today's filing is just one more critical step in our effort to attach the hyper-partisanship that has nearly paralyzed our governing process," said Tucsho attorney and community leader Ted Hinderaker.
You can read the Open Elections Initiative language here. It's only 3 pages long, an easy read.
Do you want to vote in the Arizona primary election this year? You'll need to register by July 30 to do so.
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