April 10, 2018

Arizona Legislature Challenges Off-Year Local Elections

The House and Senate passed a bill to force election consolidation with a turnout threshold.

Voting station vote booth election hero Volunteers check voter registration at a voting station.
AZPM Staff

A bill passed by the Arizona Legislature would force local governments to get rid of off-year elections if turnout is 25 percent lower than previous elections.

That change would include primaries, which some worry would keep independent voters from casting ballots.

"Over 60 percent of Arizona voters currently have the PEVL, the Permanent Early Voter List, so they expect to get a ballot in the mail when there is an election they can vote in," said Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson.

"But in the case of a primary, they don't get those mailed to them unless they specifically request it. There is already a very low turnout for independents in primaries when they request it," Farley said.

Politically independent Arizona voters can vote in partisan primaries so long as they request the ballot from one of the parties in the election.

The bill would affect cities and towns that hold elections in odd years or in the spring instead of the fall of an even numbered year.

The Senate passed the bill 17-11 Monday, sending it to Gov. Doug Ducey.

In previous years, the Legislature has tried to change Tucson's city election dates and the way they are run.

The courts have repeatedly struck those efforts down.

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
Arizona Public Media broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents. Arizona Public Media and AZPM are registered trademarks of the Arizona Board of Regents.
The University of Arizona