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Friday, June 14, 2024

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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Experts, officials discuss electoral discontent in AZ

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Tuesday, April 23, 2024   

A new poll finds a near 20-year low in the number of voters who say they have a high interest in the 2024 election, with a majority saying they hold negative views of both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. A group of Arizona elections officials and experts recently gathered to discuss the growing discontent with the state's current electoral landscape.

Stephen Richer, Maricopa County Recorder, said that if politicians are what he calls "single-minded seekers of re-election," he contends the state should change the political incentive structure.

"And if those incentives will change, then maybe we will be talking about more things in the Arizona Voter's Agenda and less things that are currently right now incentivized by what I still believe to be a minority, but a very passionate, very loud, and a minority that is definitely committed to acting on those issues," he said.

Richer added it is important to remember that despite Independent and unaffiliated voters being able to participate in the July 30th statewide primary, they were excluded from the state's March Presidential Preference Election, and that has caught the eye of some in the state. The bipartisan group Make Elections Fair Arizona is pushing for open primaries, but proponents of closed primaries believe they're crucial to maintaining the integrity of party ideals.

Amanda Burke, executive vice president with the non-partisan, nonprofit organization Center for the Future of Arizona, said more than half of unaffiliated voters do not feel they have leaders or candidates running who speak to the issues and causes they care about. She contends that then translates to who decides to show up at the ballot box and vote, and encourages Arizonans to imagine a different primary system if they want different outcomes.

"Otherwise we are going to continue to have some more outcomes in terms of people who are incentivized to speak to a small percentage of their base on either side who are really not representative of the larger views," she explained.

The Grand Canyon State allows voter-initiated amendments to the state constitution, but the Arizona Require Partisan Primary Elections Amendment would add the state's current primary practice to the state constitution, prohibiting future changes without another constitutional amendment. Make Elections Fair Arizona is still collecting signatures to get its measure on the November ballot.


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