Arizona ranks among bottom half of states for voter turnout, study finds

Jul 18, 2018, 4:25 AM

PHOENIX – Voter participation is eroding across the U.S. and the situation in Arizona is a crisis, according to a study by the Morrison Institute of Public Policy at Arizona State University.

The poor, minorities and young adults who would benefit the most by voting are the very groups that participate the least in the process, the study said, recommending engagement be fostered through education.

Local leaders in justice and politics agreed that the situation in Arizona is bad and needs to be addressed, but several noted that the trend toward lower turnout is a historical problem consistent from generation to generation.

Arizona ranks 43rd in the nation in voter turnout, and younger and poorer voters continue to not exercise their right to vote, according to the study, released at a press conference Tuesday by the Arizona Clean Elections Commission and the Morrison Institute.

The study says voters usually are more affluent than non-voters, pointing to education level and economic status as factors that create interest in governmental policy.

The institute aims to raise awareness of low voter turnout to turn the trend around. In Arizona, only 58 percent of registered voters turn out on average.

“Those with low levels of education, ethnic minorities and young adults are woefully underrepresented at the ballot box.” said Dave Daugherty, a senior research fellow at the Morrison Institute and co-author of the report.

Most political decisions on Arizona are made by middle-aged, affluent people, he said,
and the communities that would most benefit from voting aren’t participating in the electorate process.

He points to a particular demographic that’s of the most concern: Millennials. Born from the early 1980s to the mid- to late-’90s, millennials represent one-third the population in Arizona but represent just 25 percent of the registered voters in the state, and only 20 percent actually cast votes, according to the study.

Although the institute considers the situation a national crisis, other experts see it more of a cyclical condition.

Paul Avelar, managing attorney for the Arizona office of the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit libertarian law group, agrees that “people ought to care a lot more about state and local government elections” and that minorities and younger people should be encouraged to get involved in the electorate process, but he hasn’t seen any recent change that would make this a crisis.

“Why was it not a crisis in the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s, when participation rates were about the same and possibly even lower?” he asked.

However, other panelists agreed with the word “crisis,” saying it brings awareness to the contemporary chapter of this ongoing problem.

“The term crisis is being used to wake people up to the fact that this does need to change,” said Amy Chan, commissioner with the Citizens Clean Elections Commission.

Regardless, all the panelist agreed the numbers are concerning for Arizona.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Hilda McGready...

Silver Alert cancelled for 85-year-old woman who drove off from Arrowhead Mall in Glendale

A Silver Alert was cancelled Sunday for an 85-year-old woman with dementia who drove off from the Arrowhead Mall in Glendale, authorities said.
22 hours ago
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) walks to her office in the basement of the ...

Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Jan. 21-23

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema being censured by the state’s Democratic party is among the biggest Arizona stories of the weekend.
22 hours ago
Barry Markson (Twitter photo/BarryMarkson1)...
Mike O'Neil/The Think Tank

Think Tank talks with practicing attorney and KTAR host Barry Markson

Practicing attorney and sometimes KTAR News 92.3 FM host Barry Markson joins this week's Think Tank to discuss his take on Biden’s recent speech and other topics.
22 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Wills Rice

Storm brings rain, strong wind gusts to metro Phoenix Saturday night

A storm rolled through metro Phoenix Saturday night, bringing rain and wind across the Valley.
22 hours ago
A Valley Metro Rail train drives through downtown on March 26, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. Despite fe...

Phoenix receives $920K for 5-mile streetcar route development in Mesa

The city of Mesa on Friday received a $920,000 grant to manage the planning of a 5-mile streetcar route that would connect four activity centers within the municipality.
22 hours ago
(Phoenix Police Department Photo)...

Phoenix police seek public’s help in identifying suspects who shot 2 teens in December

The Phoenix Police Department is seeking the public's assistance in identifying three suspects who shot two 15-year-old teens in December.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

HVAC upkeep in Arizona saves money, keeps families prepared in the long run

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Thyroid issues: Here are the warning signs and what to do

In a 100-person office in the United States, an estimated 12 co-workers, employees and loved ones, will likely develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. That’s because, according to the American Thyroid Association, more than 12% of the U.S. population will experience thyroid issues.
Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford offers cars and deals for all this holiday season

Sanderson Ford’s No! Vember Black Friday sale is giving an opportunity to purchase a new 2021 vehicle just in time for the holiday season.
Arizona ranks among bottom half of states for voter turnout, study finds