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Voting is vitally important even in elections without great drama

Mike Huckins

Mike Huckins

Voting is the cornerstone of a democracy and is key to the health of our political system. It is your opportunity for your voice to be heard, to have a say in issues that affect your community, and to hold elected officials accountable for their decisions.

This year’s City of Phoenix elections on August 25 present less drama than perhaps any in the last decade. Three of the four incumbent City Council members are running unopposed, and Mayor Greg Stanton faces just two challengers, both of whom lag well behind him in fundraising.

Sadly, far too few people vote. The 2013 City Council race had 16 candidates running, but still drew only 23.4 percent of registered voters to the polls. With a much less eventful campaign this year, even lower voter turnout is likely. While it is no secret that presidential elections draw the highest voter turnout (2012 saw 74.3 percent of voters participate), Phoenix is making a push to increase voter participation, especially in city elections.

Early voting remains highly popular among Phoenicians, with early ballots routinely making up between 88 and 96 percent of votes cast. To receive an early ballot, you may sign up to be included on the Permanent Early Voter List (PEVL). Registering to vote online, or signing up to place your name on the PEVL, is a simple process which can be accessed easily on www.azsos.gov. Other options include mailing in the registration form found through the online link or filling out a registration form in person at the County Recorder’s office.

The deadline to register to vote in the Phoenix General Election is July 27. Be sure to mark your calendars and vote on August 25 for the Phoenix Mayor and City Council Members in Districts 1, 3, 5 and 7.

Voting is vitally important. People who vote are more informed about local issues. And they are more concerned about their communities and have a greater sense of impacting the world around them. You can start by understanding who, or what issue, is on the ballot and the impact of this election on the issues you care about. Democracy is something we can’t take for granted. You won’t be heard if you don’t vote.

— Mike Huckins is vice president of public affairs at the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

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