Open Primaries

New Ad: 33% of Voters Denied Right to Vote in AZ Presidential Preference Election

Independent Voters for Arizona and launched a new ad on Thursday, September 5, to raise awareness of the growing voting rights crisis in Arizona. Namely, 33% of registered voters in the state are denied the right to vote in the taxpayer-funded presidential preference elections.

The ad depicts an Iraq War veteran leaving a polling location on the day of the presidential primary (or more aptly named presidential preference election in Arizona). His daughter asks him where his "I Voted" sticker was, and the veteran tells her he was turned away and was not allowed to cast a ballot.

Approximately 1.27 million voters are registered independent in Arizona. In a press release Thursday, Independent Voters for Arizona reported that nationally 46% of voters identify as independent, including 49% of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and 50% of Millennials.

According to the organization, the ad will target independent voters and members of the Democratic Precinct and State Committees. Arizona Democrats could decide to open the party's 2020 Presidential Preference Election to independents at their September 21 State Committee meeting.

Al Bell, a former Navy pilot and independent leader in Arizona, recently had meetings with Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Arizona Democratic Party Chair Felicia Rotellini on reforming the presidential preference election rules.

“We left hopeful that these leaders would do their part in opening Arizona’s primary.” he said.

Independent leaders also met with Adrian Fontes, County Recorder for the state's largest county, Maricopa County. Reform advocate Jim Morrison says Fontes' "strong support for opening the presidential primaries is a boost to our efforts."

“The Democratic Party has become increasingly competitive in the last 2 years,” said Cathy Stewart, Vice President of National Development for “Independents are the force putting them over the top.  It’s time for some reciprocal action.”

Independent Voters for Arizona says the ad will run from Thursday, September 5, to September 16, 2019, and will air on on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.

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About the Author

Shawn Griffiths

Shawn is an election reform expert an editor of He studied history and philosophy at the University of North Texas. He joined the IVN team in 2012.

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