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Sometimes called early voting, vote by mail, or ballot by mail. Absentee voting is when a voter votes prior to Election Day. Some states require a valid excuse. In Arizona any registered voter can request an early ballot.
All Ballot by Mail Election
Sometimes called All-Mail Election. An All Ballot-by-Mail election is when a ballot is automatically mailed to every qualified elector in a jurisdiction, regardless of whether the voter is on the PEVL. These elections also include establishment of ballot replacement sites, where voters may receive and cast a replacement ballot if they would prefer to vote in person.
Amendments can be additions, subtractions, and/or changes to bill, law, or even the constitution.
Appellate Court (Appellate Jurisdiction)
Appellate courts are responsible for hearing appeals to decisions that have already been heard in a lower court.
To be appointed is to be chosen for a particular position, typically from an elected official.
Arizona Association of Counties (AACO)
An association founded in 1968 to represent the county officials and the governments they serve in the State of Arizona.
Arizona Attorney General
The Attorney General is the chief legal officer in the State. He/she is charged with handling a multitude of legal matters that involve the State.
Arizona Revised Statutes
Contains the laws passed by the Arizona Legislature.
Arizona Secretary of State
The Secretary of State has several functions. They are tasked with keeping public records, serving as the State's Chief Election Officer & producing the election procedures manual, and serve as acting Governor when the Governor is absent from the State.
Arizona State House of Representatives
The lower chamber of the Legislative branch in Arizona. Works with the Governor and the Senate in order to create laws and a state budget. Consists of 60 members (2 representatives per legislative district).
Arizona State Senate
The upper chamber of the Legislative branch in Arizona. Works with the Governor and the House in order to create laws and a state budget. Consists of 30 members (1 senator per legislative district).
Arizona State Supreme Court
The highest court in all of Arizona consists of 7 judges who each serve 6 year terms. They are to preside over appeals cases and issue rules of procedure for all courts in Arizona. They have full discretion over the cases they take however any death penalties issued would go automatically to the Supreme Court.
Arizona State Treasurer
The Office of the State Treasurer Arizona is responsible for the banking and investment management duties for the state, provides investment services to local governments, and exclusively manages the Permanent Land Endowment.
A recount automatically triggered by the margins identified in state statute, which differ by election type. A signed court order issued by the appropriate superior court must be obtained to initiate the recount.
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An individual or organization that is responsible for actions that are harmful, illegal and/or immoral.
A form used to cast a vote.
Ballot Drop Box
A secured, official box where electors can drop off their voted ballot to later be counted and tabulated.
Ballot fatigue is a term used to describe when voters only vote for a few races at the top of their ballot and do not fill out the rest of the ballot.
Ballot fatigue is a term used to describe when voters only vote for a few races at the top of their ballot and do not fill out the rest of the ballot.
Often referred to as a ballot measure or proposition, an initiative is a way for everyday voters to propose and vote on a specific statute or constitutional amendment.
Ballot measures are also known as Propositions and are essentially questions placed on the ballot by the legislature to be accepted or rejected by voters.
Ballot Replacement Center
A location to replace a missing, damaged, or spoiled ballot.
Biased means to have prejudice or have a one-sided opinion.
Bifurcated (Dual) Voter Registration System
Arizona's voter registration system that designates two types of voters: "full ballot voters" and "federal only voters". In Arizona you must provide proof of citizenship to be registered as a "full-ballot" voter which qualifies you to vote in all elections you are eligible to vote in, incuding federal, state and local elections. Federal law requires a voter swear or affirm under penalty of perjury their citizenship, but does not require proof. Arizona voters who do not provide proof of citizenship are "federal only" voters and are only qualified to vote in federal elections.
Board of Supervisors
A county is governed by elected district supervisors. The Board appoints a county manager and approves a budget that allocates money to all departments and elected offices.
A bond issue as it applies to ballots, is a measure that would provide additional funding to school districts and municipalities most commonly but can also be be for state and local governments.
An autonomous program on the internet or another network that can communicate and interact with systems or user. Bots typically will be used on social media to persuade users with political rhetoric.
Buckley v. Valeo
Legal case that removed limitations on expenditures made by federal candidates (or on behalf of). On January 30, 1976, the U.S. Supeme Court struck down certain limitation provisions of the 1971 Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) (but also upheld certain contribution limits). Buckley v. Valeo determined that spending money on behalf of a candidate or a political party is a form of protected speech.
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A cabinet is a group of high ranking officials whose role it is to advise the senior ranking official.
A political campaign is an effort to influence the results of an election, either by getting someone elected to the respective office or passing or defeating a ballot measure.
Campaign finance refers to money spent to influence the result of an election. There are federal campaign finance laws and state campaign finance laws (and local).
Campaign Finance Report
Documentation of the campaign finance activity by a political entity (candidate, committee, party). Campaign finance reports are required to be filed by political committees during filing periods determined by the jurisdiction.
A person running for an elected office or position is considered a candidate.
Refers to a solicitation or survey of voters to ascertain information on public opinion.
Canvass of Election
The official results of an election, adopted in a public meeting by the jurisdiction that held the election.
In March of 2020 the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was passed by U.S. lawmakers. It was a 2 trillion dollar bill to help stimulate an economy amidst an economic downturn due to a global pandemic.
A meeting where a group of people in the same political party or ideology meet to discuss topics such as; policy, strategy, and picking political candidates.
Central Arizona Water Conservation District
A 15 member elected board that manages the The Central Arizona Project, otherwise known as CAP, which is a 336-mile long canal that brings water from the Colorado River to Central and Southern Arizona.
Central Count Method
Refers to the method used to tabulate votes. If a voter is in a central count county, the voter would deposit their voted ballot into a secured ballot bin at the polls. After the polls close, the secured ballots are transported back to election central (the location used by the county to tabulate the ballots) where the ballots are tabulated on high speed tabulators. This is opposite of counties that tabulate with precinct tabulators, where the voter would feed their voted ballot directly into the tabulation machine at the polls.
In the context of a political race, a challenger would be someone running in opposition to an incumbent office holder.
At the federal lelvel, the highest judicial officer in the nation and presiding judge of the U.S. Supreme Court. At the state level, the presiding judge of the Arizona Supreme Court.
Citizens Clean Elections Commission
The Citizens Clean Elections Commission is a non-partisan commission created by voters that educates voters, and provides clean campaign funding and enforces campaign finance rules and laws.
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a ruling that allowed prohibitions on independent expenditures by corporations
The legislative body for a City. City council members are elected by the voters residing within the city.
The act of any individual or group participating in an effort to change an issue of public concern or promote positive change in a community.
Where an individual, regardless of any characteristic or socioeconomic background, has equal rights in society. This includes social opportunities and protection under the law, without discrimination. The right to vote is an example of a civil right.
Without reference to the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission, a "clean election" is sometimes referred to as an election free from fraud, corruption or dark money.
An optional program created by Arizona voters for statewide and legislative candidates to qualify for public funding for their campaigns in exchange for forgoing special interest money and high dollar contributions.
Clerk of the Court
Is responsible for maintaining, filing, and safeguarding court materials along with various administrative duties.
A closed primary is when a voter must be affiliated/registered with the party in order to participate in that particular election. Arizona has an open primary law.
The person who assumes full control over the armed forces, this role is held by the President of the United States.
A group of persons who are appointed or elected to serve a role in either a regulatory or administrative sense.
Commission on Appellate Court Appointments
Established via the Arizona Constitution, the Commission is responsible for evaluating applications for judgeship and for appointment to the Independent Redistricting Commission.
Community College Districts
A unit for the administration of a school system at the community college level.
Community Park Maintenance Districts
Are formed for the purpose of maintaining existing community parks.
A district represented by an elected United States House of Representatives member. Congressional districts lines are redrawn during redistricting. Arizona has 9 congressional districts and therefore, 9 elected U.S. Representatives.
The United States Congress consists of two houses, the Senate and The House of Representatives. Members are chosen by election and are responsible for forming the laws and budget of the nation.
Consolidation of Elections
Refers to the statewide election schedule that local jurisdictions must follow, with certain exceptions. Essentially, local elections must occur at the same time as statewide elections.
A group that is represented, the term often refers to the body of voters or the electoral district represented by an elected body or official.
Amendments are additions to the Constitution that are proposed by Congress and ratified by the States.
A rule that state districts be physically connected to each other.
The Arizona Corporation Commission has five members, each elected to four-year terms. The Commission regulates the rates, business practices, health and safety of many utilities. It also regulates corporations, securities, railroads and pipelines.
The County Assessor locates all taxable property in the county and determines how much the property will be taxed. The County Assessor is an elected position with a term of four years.
The County Attorney prosecutes all felonies in the county and represents the county in legal matters. The County Attorney is an elected position with a term of four years.
County Board of Supervisors
The County Board of Supervisors are elected to four-year terms. The board is similar to that of the City Council, except its jurisdiction includes all the county and unincorporated areas. Board members set the county tax rate and approve the county budget.
County Clerk of the Court
The County Clerk of the Court records the actions of the Superior Court in each session and makes them available for the public to access. The County Clerk of the Court is an election position with a term of four years.
County Election Director
The County Election Director oversees all functions related to election day, including poll worker recruitment and training and tabulation of votes. The County Election Director either serves at the will of the County Recorder or the County Board of Supervisors.
County Improvement Districts
A special taxing district in an unincorporated area in order to raise funds to finance public improvements such as streets, sewers, water lines, etc.
The County Recorder keeps public records and is in charge of voter registration and early voting. The County Recorder is an election position with a term of four years.
The County Sheriff is the law enforcement agency for the county and runs the county jails. The County Sheriff is an elected position for a term of four years.
The County Treasurer is the county’s tax collector, receiving all revenues and fees due to the county related to private property, school districts and special assessments. The County Treasurer is an elected position with a term of four years.
Curing means that the County Recorder was unable to verify the voter’s signature on their early ballot affidavit envelope and now must contact the voter so they can provide the proper confirmation that their signature is correct.
Cyber Security & Infrastructure Security Agency
Related to elections, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency or CISA keeps federal, state and local governments aware of any potential threats to election infrastructure. CISA offers training and collaborates with election officials all over the nation.
Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks.
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Dark money at its core is undisclosed funds used to influence elections and politics.
A formal discussion in which opposing parties voice their viewpoints.
Decentralized Election System
The U.S. has a decentralized election system, meaning there is not a single point of entry into our election system that could disrupt the entire process. Each state and then county is responsible for conducting elections in their jurisdiction. For statewide elections, the counties conduct the election in their county and the Secretary of State aggregates the results from each county to determine the statewide results.
A person designated to represent someone or a group of someone's. Most commonly known as political party delegates at national conventions to select presidential nominees. A delegate is not a presidential elector.
A government in which the supreme power and decision making lies with the people rather than a select few.
The Democratic Party is one of the two major parties in the United States.
A divided government occurs when the different branches of government are controlled by opposing parties.
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An online system in Arizona that allows federal, state and legislative candidates to gather nominating signatures and allows state and legislative candidates to collect $5 qualifying contributions for the Clean Elections Clean Funding program.
Early Ballot Affidavit
An affidavit printed on the early ballot envelope that requires a signature from the voter attesting they are the eligible voter and that they voted that ballot.
Early Ballot Affidavit Envelope
The envelope you sign serves as an affidavit of your identity.
Any ballot voted prior to Election Day. In Arizona, early voting begins 27 days before an election with mail ballots and in person early voting locations.
In Arizona, early voting (either in-person or by mail) is available beginning 27 days before every Election Day available to voters.
A politician, official, or representative who is chosen by a vote of qualified electors to serve in public office.
Election Assistance Commission
The United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is an independent, bipartisan commission charged with developing guidance to meet HAVA (Help America Vote Act of 2002) requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration. EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as audits the use of HAVA funds.
The date in which the Election occurs and the last day to vote in states that allow early voting.
Laws that govern how Elections are managed and conducted.
An election precinct, often referred to as a voting district, is a geographic location used to conduct elections.
Election Procedures Manual
The Elections Procedures Manual (EPM) provides consistent election practices and procedures to ensure the efficiency of elections in Arizona. The EPM is developed by the Secretary of State in consultation with the county recorders, and is approved by the Governor and Attorney General. The EPM has the force and effect of law.
Election security refers to all the ways election officials ensure the safety, security and integrity of the electoral process. This includes cyber security for the voter registration system, the election management system as well as the physical security of election equipment and ballots.
Elector (Presidential Elector)
Electors are allocated to each state based on their representation in Congress. Every state is allocated 2 electors as every state has 2 United States Senators, plus a number of electors equal to the number of the state's members in the U. S. House of Representatives. Arizona has 9 Congressional Districts (therefore 9 House of Representatives) so Arizona is allocated a total of 11 electors. The number of congressional districts allocated to each state is based on population.
The executive branch of government is one of three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. The executive branch consists of the President, Vice-President, the president's administration, cabinet and federal departments. At the state level, the Governor and their cabinet make up the executive branch.
An executive order is a directive from the president (or governor at the state level) that has the effect of law. These executive orders can be removed by an incoming president if he or she so desires.
An exit poll is a polling method used by the media to potentially predict the outcome of an election by asking voters questions after they have cast their ballot at the polls.
An expenditure is an expense made by a political committee, campaign or a candidate.
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An elector who cast a vote against their party's nominee is called a faithless elector. A faithless elector has not changed the outcome of any elections in the United States and they are rare. Arizona law prohibits faithless electors.
The term federal means the central or national government in the United States.
Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA)
The Federal Election Campaign Act, also referred to as FECA, was enacted in 1971 by congress to regulate fundraising and spending in National elections. The act limits the amount of financial contributions and other forms of donations to federal candidates and national political parties. FECA also required financial disclosures for federal campaigns.
Federal Election Commission (FEC)
The Federal Election Commission regulates campaign finance activity for federal campaigns. Candidates for president and congress file campaign finance reports with the FEC.
Federal offices, or agencies, are created by legislation from congress or by a presidential order. These offices often deal with resource management, financial oversight and national security. An example of a federal office would be The Department of Homeland Security whose director is appointed by the president.
Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)
The Federal Post Card Application or FPCA is the form used for military and overseas voters to register to vote, request an absentee ballot and/or update their contact information.
Federal Voter Registration Form
The Federal voter registration form is a form accepted nationally to register to vote. The form is developed by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and is accepted by all states. State voter registration forms may exist as well.
Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP)
The Federal Voting Assistance Program or FVAP is a federal program that assists military and overseas voters anywhere in the world with resources to participate in elections.
Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB)
The Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot or FWAB serves as an emergency backup ballot for military and overseas voters.
A filibuster is the act of obstructing or delaying a bill in the Senate by debating for an extended period of time or by using procedures to block legislation.
Financial Disclosure Statement
A financial disclosure statement is a document filed by candidates that discloses their personal financial interests. A financial disclosre statement is separate from a campaign finance report.
A Fire District is a special taxing district governed by Title 48 of the Arizona Revised Statutes as a political subdivision and an elected board.
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General elections occur every two years, always in an even year. These elections may include U.S. Federal, Arizona Legislative, County, and local offices on the ballot.
Get Out the Vote (GOTV)
Get out the vote or GOTV is a term that campaigns use to describes the effort to encourage people to particpate in elections.
Gridlock is the term used when congress is in a stalemate and laws and policies are not passed.
The Governor has the power to elect or appoint individuals to serve on commissions, cabinets, state boards or their administration.
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Help America Vote Act (HAVA)
In 2002, HAVA was legislated by the U.S. Congress, to initiate drastic reforms to the United States voting process. HAVA addressed necessary improvements to our voting systems and voter access that were identified after the issues concerning the 2000 election.
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The United States Constitution gives the House of Representatives the ability to impeach the president. Impeachment is essentially bringing forth charges. The Senate has the power to convict the president of those charges and remove the president from office. A president that has been impeached can still remain in office if not convicted by the Senate.
In-Person Early Voting
When a voter votes in person prior to Election Day. In-person early voting is available beginning 27 days before every Election Day in Arizona.
An incumbent is a candidate who presently holds an office that is up for election.
An independent voter is a voter who is not affiliated with any political party. Arizona does not have an "Independent Party". A voter who has not selected affiliation with a recognized political party is considered an independent, or no party preference or no party designated.
An independent candidate is a candidate who does not belong to any of the recognized political parties. Independent candidates do not appear on primary election ballots.
Independent Redistricting Commission
The Independent Redistricting Commission was created with the passage of Proposition 106 by Arizona voters in the 2000 General Election. Prop 106 amended the Arizona Constitution to form a five-member commission to redraw congressional and legislative district lines or boundaries after the 2000 census. Prior to the passing of Proposition 106, the legislature was responsible for drawing the lines for redistricting.
An initiative is a way for voters to propose laws or policies by getting a minimum number of registered voters to sign a document called a petition in order to get that proposal on the ballot to be voted on in the next election. Often referred to as direct democracy.
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The judicial Branch in the United States is also known as the Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the land, and the justices are appointed by the President to be then confirmed by the Senate. Article III of the Constitution, gives authority to the Judicial Branch. Judicial branches also exist at the state and local level.
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A landslide victory is an election where the candidate wins by a large margin.
Legislation is the laws and policies created by the House and/or the Senate in the legislature.
The federal government is split up into three different branches to establish a separation of powers. The legislative branch of the United States government consists of the House and the Senate, commonly referred to as Congress. The legislative branch has the power and authority to create laws, regulate interstate and foreign commerce, tax policies. Congress has the power of the purse meaning the legislative branch controls government spending.
Arizona has 30 legislative districts that consist of 2 members of the House of Representatives and one member from the Senate from each district that make up the 90 seats in the Legislature.
The Libertarian party was established in 1971 and is currently a recognized party in Arizona.
There is no lieutenant governor in Arizona, meaning the Secretary of State is next in line in succession should the Governor leave office due to death, resignation or impeachment. Other states may have a lieutenant governor that is elected as the governor's running mate.
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Mandated means something is legally required.
In Arizona cities and towns, a Mayor is responsible for running city council meetings and setting policy along with the city council.
The Arizona State Mine Inspector is an elected position responsible for inspecting active underground mines and ensuring their safety.
Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act
The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act or MOVE was adopted in 2009 and reinforces military and overseas voters voting rights. The act required states transmit absentee ballots to UOCAVA voters no later than 45 days before a national election.
A Mock election is an election organized for educational purposes.
Municipal services are the services the local government provides in return from taxes. Some examples would be sanitation, water, streets, police, transportation and more.
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A national convention is a political convention that each of the major political parties hold to nominate the next president and vice-president from their party and choose a platform. The national convention consists of delegates from each state.
National Popular Vote
A national popular vote is the concept that the President of the United States would be elected by who wins the most popular votes, instead of an electoral college.
No Party Designated
No party designated indicates that the voter did not select a recognized political party as their political affiliation when registering to vote. NPD is considered an independent voter.
No Party Preference
No party preference indicates that the voter did not select a recognized political party as their political affiliation when registering to vote. NPP is considered an independent voter.
A nomination paper is a document a candidate files (along with other requirements) to have their name to appear on the official ballot. The candidate lists how their name will appear on the ballot and confirms they meet the requirements to hold said office.
A Non-voter is a person who does not participate in an election.
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An Open Primary is a primary election where a voter does not have to belong to a particular party to cast a ballot. Arizona has an open primary, meaning independent voters can participate.
An overvote occurs when a voter makes too many selections for a particular race or measure on their ballot. For example, when voting for Governor, there is only one seat to be filled. If a voter selects two candidates for Governor, it is considered an overvote and neither vote will count for Governor.
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A platform or political party platform is the ideals and agenda that the party uses to guide policy decisions.
A plurality is an election where the candidate who gains the most votes wins the election.
Policy is a law, regulation, procedure, legislative or administrative action, incentive, of governments and/or other agencies.
Political Action Committee (PAC)
A political action committee engages in political activity by raising and expending funds to support or defeat candidates running for office.
A poll worker is a registered voter of the state that is appointed in each county to work the polls as a inspector, judge, marshal or clerk.
A polling place is an assigned voting location.
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To seek another term in office.
A recall election is when voters obtained sufficient signatures to place an incumbent back on the ballot for voters to consider either re-electing the incumbent or electing a new candidate that has qualified to place their name on the the recall ballot.
Recognized Political Party
A recognized political party is a party that has been declared official by the state and is afforded space on the ballot for that party's candidates. In Arizona, a party must submit a sufficient amount of petition signatures to obtain initial recognition and then maintains recognition by meeting certain voter registration requirements within their party.
Arizona has an automatic recount provision that is enacted when the vote count meets a certain threshold. An automatic recount must be initiated by an action in superior court by the election officer.
At the state level, the process of redistricting is where congressional and legislative district lines are redrawn on a map. Redistricting can also occur at the local level.
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Secretary of State
The Arizona Secretary of State is an elected office. The Secretary of State serves as the Chief Election officer in the State of Arizona. The responsibilities include publishing the Elections Procedure Manual, publishing state laws, rules and administering business registrations and trademarks.
Special Helath Care Districts
A Special Health Care Districts is a special taxing district governed by Title 48 of the Arizona Revised Statutes as a political subdivision and an elected board.
Special Road Districts
A Special Road Districts is a special taxing district governed by Title 48 of the Arizona Revised Statutes as a political subdivision and an elected board.
In Arizona, The Governor or the State Legislature with a two-thirds vote can call a Special Session. A Special Session generally deals with a particular issue and there is no limit to how many Special Sessions can be called.
A ballot that the voter designates as spoiled and will not be counted. The voter can then be issued a replacement ballot. Spoiled ballots usually occur if the voter makes a mistake when marking their ballot or the ballot becomes damaged and the voter requests a new ballot.
A Stadium district is a special taxing district governed by Title 48 of the Arizona Revised Statutes as a political subdivision and an elected board.
Statewide Ballot Measure
A Statewide ballot measure would appear on all eligible voters ballots in Arizona.
The specific district that each County Board of Supervisors represents.
Surplus of Funds
A surplus of funds in the state of Arizona is when income surpasses the states' expenditures for a given fiscal year.
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A tabulation center is where ballots are processed and counted by tabulation machines.
A device that scans and counts ballots.
A term limit is a legal restriction on how many times a elected official can hold a specific office.
A Third party candidate does not belong to either two major political parties, which are Democratic and Republican.
A Two-thirds vote is also known as a Super Majority or a qualified majority and is roughly 67% of the vote.
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U.S. Election Assistance Commission
"The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). EAC is an independent, bipartisan commission charged with developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration. EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as audits the use of HAVA funds."
Unbiased means being free from prejudice or favoritism and exceedingly objective.
An unincorporated area is area that is not legally recognized as an official city or town.
Upper House of the Legislature
The upper house of the legislature refers to the Senate which is one of the two state legislative chambers in a bicameral legislature.
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Vote Tabulation Equipment
Vote tabulation equipment is used by the election department to tabulate official ballots.
A person with the legal right to vote in an election.
Voter apathy happens when voters do not show interest or participate in local, state of national elections. The main cause of voter apathy is lack of agency or the feeling that they cannot effect change.
Voter efficacy is a voter's capacity to understand and influence political events.
Voter Education Guide
The Voter Education Guide, also known as the "Candidate Statement Pamphlet", provides voters information on the voting process and statements from the candidates running for statewide and legislative office. Clean Elections automatically mails a guide directly to voters for both the state primary and general elections.
Voter Identification (Voter ID)
In Arizona voters are required to show qualifying identification when voting in person prior to receiving their ballot.
Voting Rights Act (VRA)
The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 and prohibited voter discrimination based on race. It also required certain states to provide election materials in other languages besides English.
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A write in candidate is a person whose name is not on the ballot but the voters can write in that candidates name. In Arizona, only write in votes for candidates that are officially registered will be counted. For more information please read the Arizona Revised Statutes § 16-312 Filing Of Nomination Papers For Write‑in Candidates.