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.