Home / Footer / Press Room / 2nd Voter Crisis Release

New Report Heightens Need to Raise Awareness About Upcoming Primary Election Milestone Dates

Alarmingly low voter turnout in the Primaries means ‘forfeit of influence’ on General Election outcomes
August 17, 2018

PHOENIX – Aug. 17, 2018—A supplement to a report about voter participation in Arizona commissioned by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC) says that more than half of Arizona voters forgo voting in the Primary Election. With deadlines to request a ballot for the Primary on Aug. 17 and Primary Election Day on Aug. 28, it means that there is an immediate need to increase awareness among voters about these dismal numbers and to ignite participation. The findings, outlined by ASU Morrison Institute in their report, Arizona Primary Elections: Primarily Forgotten is now available on the CCEC website.

“We have an opportunity right now to reverse a negative trend in voter participation in our state,” said Arizona Clean Elections Executive Director Tom Collins. “This report says that only one in five eligible voters cast a ballot in the Arizona Primary; with participation even more dire among the second largest voting block in the state: “party not designated” or the group of voters that we call Independents. Now is the time to start to change history in Arizona in relation to voter participation.”

Low participation in the primaries is concerning because these races often serve as the decisive election for congress and the legislature. Moreover, the participation trend doesn’t bode well for elected representation that reflects the broader population. A few highlights from the Report follow:

  • The majority of voters who participate in the Primary Election are between 50 and 70 years old.
  • Less than 1 million of Arizona’s 4.7 million potential voters (eligible voters of both the registered and non-registered variety) cast a ballot in the Primary Election.
  • Many Independent voters, the second largest voting block in the state, don’t know that they can vote in the Primary Election. Some even believe it will impact their status as an Independent which is not true.

Reasons for not participating in the elections are varied but one consistent theme that surfaces from voter focus groups conducted by the CCEC is lack of time and confusion on the process. These reasons are why the CCEC has developed easy-to-use education materials for every type of voter, whether they are newly registered or a ‘veteran’ voter. Summaries of some of these tools which can aid people leading up to the Primary Election on Aug. 28 and beyond, are below. The CCEC website is also a robust resource.

  • CCEC Voter Dashboard: By entering a home address, this tool instantly informs voters of their corresponding districts, names of candidates, important dates and polling locations. It is the first of its kind in the state.
  • CCEC Candidate Compass: By entering a candidate name, this tool gives voters an overview of where they stand on certain issues.
  • CCEC Online ID Quiz: This online tool guides voters through a self-assessment to assure they have the correct identification when they do vote at the polls.

The Arizona Primary Elections: Primarily Forgotten, report by Morrison Institute for Public Policy is part of a statewide voter education/engagement project in collaboration with the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission. This report and the recent report titled, Arizona’s Voter Crisis are available at AZCleanElections.gov and MorrisonInstitute.asu.edu. Over the next few weeks Citizens Clean Elections and Morrison Institute are jointly holding three town hall-style meetings around the state to examine and discuss regional challenges and solutions in improving voter turnout. Local elected officials, voters and “potential voters” will be invited to participate in this effort.

View Report