As Deadline Looms, Maricopa County Recorder Fontes Presses Dems to Open Presidential Primary
Posted by Danny Battista on August 26, 2019 at 1:24 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 23, 2019
Sarah Lyons: 917-658-9885
As Deadline Looms, Maricopa County Recorder Fontes
Presses Arizona Democrats to Open the
Democratic Presidential Primary
to Independent Voters
Independents’ Meeting with Arizona Democratic Party
Chair Felecia Rotellini & Secretary of State Katie Hobbs
Calling open primaries a reform whose time has come, Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes pressed the Democratic Party of Arizona to open the 2020 Presidential Preference Election to independents in a recent opinion piece published in The Arizona Republic. One third of Arizona voters are registered as independents and are currently barred from voting. Independents can vote in all other elections.
Fontes previewed his support for open primaries back in May tweeting: “Independent voters should be allowed to vote in AZ’s Presidential Preference Election next March...particularly because their taxpayer dollars fund it. Fair is fair.” In his op-ed, Fontes went further giving rationale for his support, addressing pragmatic issues in the political relationship between the Democratic Party and independent voters, and expressing the desire to avoid the mishap which marred Arizona’s 2016 presidential primary.
In April and May, a group of independent voters from Arizona and a representative of the national association of independents, IndependentVoting.org, held meetings with Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and the Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party Felecia Rotellini appealing for their support in opening Arizona’s 2020 presidential primary to independents. “Our team felt the meetings were productive and left hopeful that these leaders would do their part in opening Arizona’s primary,” said Al Bell, a former Navy pilot, now retired and active in the independent voter movement.
Along with the meetings with Rotellini and Hobbs, independents also met with Fontes. “His strong support for opening the presidential primaries is a shot in the arm to our efforts,” said Jim Morrison, Tucson member of Indys4AZ.org. “We must stop a grave voting rights injustice from happening in Arizona.”
In Arizona, 1.27 million voters (1,267,340 as of July 1, 2019) are registered as independents. This includes 40% of Latino voters in the state. Nationally, Gallup’s June poll on party affiliation showed 46% of Americans consider themselves independent. Among veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, 49% are independents. Among millennials, the number is 50%.
“The Democratic Party has become increasingly competitive in the last 2 years,” said Cathy Stewart, VP of National Development for IndependentVoting.org who also attended the meetings. “Independents are the force putting them over the top. It’s time for some reciprocal action.”
Arizona’s Democratic Party could decide to open the 2020 Presidential Preference Election at the September 21st, 2019 State Committee meeting in Prescott.
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