The primary is not secondary
On either side of the aisle there are a lot of Americans dissatisfied with the current direction of the country — 63 percent according to Gallup. Yet, if voter turnout is anything like the last five primary elections, no more than 30 percent of Arizonans registered to vote are going to cast a ballot in August 28th’s primary.
We at the Daily Wildcat believe every vote is important, and each acts as a powerful voice to change some of the largest problems we see in government today. We are calling on each of you not to neglect this year’s primary election.
Many view or act like primary elections are of secondary importance compared to the general election. Let us not forget there was a certain election not too long ago where some Americans lamented the fact that there were "no good candidates." Where did those choices come from?
From too few people! According to the Arizona state election data, only 27.6% of registered Arizona democrats voted for Hillary Clinton and 20.3% voted for Bernie Sanders, while 50.7% did not vote at all. On the Republican side, 25.4% voted for Donald Trump, 30% for other candidates, and 44.6% didn’t vote.
Elections in non-presidential years always see a lower turnout. Don’t let the lack of excitement of a presidential election keep you from the polls. This year Arizonans get to decide who will fill many offices that will have a visible impact on our communities, including superintendent of public instruction, attorney general, governor, state senators and state and national representatives.
This year one of the closest-watched elections is for Jeff Flake's Senate seat, which he is vacating after this term. Voting in both the Democratic and Republican primaries is so important because Kelli Ward, Joe Arpaio or Martha McSally would all be different types of representatives from the Republican party, as would Deedra Abboud or Kyrsten Sinema for the Democrats.
In Arizona Legislative District 2 alone, where many Tucsonans live, there are seven Democrats and four Republicans in their respective primaries. You can decide who the November candidates will be.
And please, never tell yourself that your vote doesn’t matter. Your vote matters exactly as much as every other person’s. In a report titled "Arizona's Voter Crisis," co-author and senior research fellow at the Morrison Institute David Daugherty says that wealthy Arizonans are more likely to vote, helping them shape policy decisions.
The report states that millennials, defined from 18-35 years old, make up 32 percent of the population, while ‘Baby Boomers’ only make up 29 percent. However, in the 2016 election only 29 percent of Millennials voted, while 62 percent of Baby Boomers did. Nowhere is this discrepancy between older and younger voters as obvious as in primary elections. In the 2016 primary, the median age for people who voted in both the primary and the general election was 65 for Republicans and 64 for Democrats. As a reminder, that means that as many people over the age of 65 voted as under the age of 65. The most shocking statistic of all for us was that only four percent of Millennials voted in both the primary and general elections in 2016. It’s not that our votes and voice don’t matter — so few of us actually vote that the Millennial voice is severely weakened.
Now, we’re not about to say "don’t vote, don’t complain," because everyone always has a voice. But really think about this: if someone’s complaints don’t get him-/herself to vote and don’t inspire others to vote, then what change does it actually accomplish?
The main reasons people don’t vote in primaries are that they have no time (21 percent said this), they did not want to (13 percent) or that they forgot (9 percent), according to "Arizona's Voter Crisis". Now, consider yourself reminded, convince yourself that you want to and make time to go to the polls.
In Tucson polling locations are numerous to limit lines and time spent waiting. If you still have an early ballot sitting on your counter, drop it off at any polling location (you can call 520-724-4330 to find the closest polling location).
Arizona now has an open primary, so independents can request a Green, Democrat or Republican Party ballot at their polling place.
The only vote that doesn’t count is the one that’s not cast. Happy Primary Day!
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