JIM SHARPE

Are voters really apathetic about 2024 election — or are they still trying to digest the last one?

Apr 23, 2024, 2:00 PM

An attendee wears an "I Voted" sticker at a 2022 election night watch party in Phoenix....

An attendee wears an "I Voted" sticker at a 2022 election night watch party in Phoenix. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Even though 64% of voters who responded to an NBC News poll rated their level of interest in this November’s election at a 9 or a 10, that’s the lowest percentage in almost 20 years.

So what gives? And are voters in Arizona more (or less) engaged than American voters overall?

Well, if you believe our very unscientific poll that we posted on social media, Arizonans are more interested. 

When we asked on the @AZMorningNews “X” account, “What’s your own interest level?” 69% answered “I’m paying attention!”; 20.7% answered “There’s an election?!” and 10.3% said “I’m waiting.”

I can see how there’s a bit of voter burnout — with the seemingly 24-7 election coverage in the media supplemented by so many of our friends who can’t stop talking about politics (in person and on Facebook).

But Arizona political consultant Stan Barnes told us on Arizona’s Morning News that he believes high burnout will not equal low turnout.

So, could interest (and turnout) be boosted when the 10% of folks who told us they’re “waiting” finally get interested?

Maybe they’re waiting for all the 2020 and 2022 election drama to die down before they invest in the 2024 election.

If so, a ray of sunshine may be peeking through. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake involving the last case she has in court. The suit, which she filed back when she ran for governor, attempted to block the use of tabulation machines in Arizona’s elections (the machines that count the votes).

Lake and former secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem filed the suit because they want ballots to only be hand-counted.  

Which may sound like a great plan until you learn what the former senior election analyst for the secretary of state told me about hand counting. Garrett Archer, who’s now ABC15’s data analyst, said on the AZ Political Podcast that the logistics involved in hand counting all the ballots in a county the size of Maricopa County “is nearly impossible.”

“The amount of people they would have to hire on a fairly temporary basis —  we’re talking tens, almost hundreds of thousands of people just to be trained to count.” 

Of course, many of Lake’s followers also insist that all those hand-counted ballots (which have several races listed on each of them) — have to be counted by the end of Election Day so that results can be posted virtually immediately. When the truth is, hand-counting the 2024 election could lead to this year’s election drama continuing well into 2026. And even higher levels of voter burnout.

Jim Sharpe

(KTAR News Photo)...

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Are voters really apathetic about 2024 election — or are they still trying to digest the last one?