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Voter registration down, but independents make gains

The number of Arizonans who are registered to vote is falling, but independent voters are gaining ground.

According to numbers released on Jan. 29 by the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, the state lost 2,389 registered voters in the last three months of 2009, dropping the total number to about 3.1 million. Both mainstream political parties lost voters, with Democrats losing 7,020 voters Republicans losing 5,168. Republicans still hold a registration advantage, with 1,127,649 to Democrats’ 1,034,395.

“The fourth quarter’s slight dip in statewide voter registration is likely an anomaly,” Secretary of State Ken Bennett said in a press release. “I expect voter registration to trend upward as interest builds in preparation for this year’s elections.”

Independent voters and members of unrecognized political parties, however, increased by more than 13,000. The Secretary of State’s Office said there about 929,000 independent voters as of Jan. 1. The Libertarian Party also gained about 800 voters, upping its total registration figure to nearly 25,000.

Most of the losses in total voter registration numbers were due to decreases in Maricopa and Pima counties, the Secretary of State’s Office said. Nine of the state’s 15 counties actually gained voters in that time.

Voter registration in Arizona through the 2008 general election season and continued to rise even after the election. The drop in total voter registration was Arizona’s first since early 2008.

3 comments

  1. In 2005 the two major parties passed legislation which had as its purpose the removal of the option to register independent from the Arizona voter registration form. A Republican Party spokesman explained the reason for this action in November of 2005.
    “The independent growth rate, in my opinion, is not as large as it would appear….This huge growth of the independent voters occurred from the time that (previous) voter registration form was issued until three months ago when a new form was created. We are finding they are now declaring themselves to be Democrat or Republican. It’s likely those numbers aren’t going to continue to grow like they had for the previous three or four years.” (Maricopa Monitor, 15 Nov 2005)
    It is interesting to note the statistics for independent voter registration at that time.

    2000-2002 107,715
    2002-2004 165,771
    2004-2006 26,384

    Independent voter registration is back up to about 40,000 per year, about half of what it was when the two major parties tried to rein it in. The present loss of voters from the two major parties could not be happening to more deserving people.

  2. Even with the opposition of both major political parties, Independents continue to gain in numbers. And this should escalate with the lack of progress on a state budget solution. The two major parties seem locked in “old think”.

    1,128 million Repug, 1,034 Demogog, 929,000 Indep

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