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Drives Across Arizona Highlight National Voter Registration Day

Arizona is marking National Voter Registration Day with registration events across the state, including at Arizona State University in Tempe. Credit: Kristine Kisky/Morguefile.
Arizona is marking National Voter Registration Day with registration events across the state, including at Arizona State University in Tempe. Credit: Kristine Kisky/Morguefile.
September 22, 2015

TEMPE, Ariz. – Today marks National Voter Registration Day, and civic groups are holding registration drives in libraries and schools across the state, including at Arizona State University in Tempe.

Shirley Sandelands, president of the League of Women Voters of Arizona, says it's crucial to get more eligible voters engaged because many elections are won on razor-thin margins. She cites the 2014 Second Congressional District race in Tucson and southeastern Arizona as an example.

"We've had some very close congressional races in Arizona," she says. "By 167 votes, our congressperson won, whereas maybe several thousand did not vote, did not turn in their ballots."

Arizona's recent voter participation rate is low – the Secretary of State says only 47 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in 2014. But the numbers were much higher – almost 75 percent – during the 2012 presidential election.

Darryl Bess, program coordinator with the nonprofit group Inspire Arizona, has been training high school students for a year to fan out across 25 high schools beginning today, and register as many 18-year-olds as possible.

"We feel it's important because the next generation that's up next," he says. "The voting demographic amongst millennials and 18- to 24-year-olds at the polls is one of the lowest."

A number of city and county elections will take place on Nov. 3. The deadline to register to vote in those contests is Oct. 5.

Eligible voters can register online by going to the Arizona Secretary of State website at azsos.gov/elections.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ