A Trump supporter holds a flag at the “Stop the Steal” rally in downtown Phoenix early Saturday afternoon after multiple news outlets have called the presidential race for Joe Biden. (Photo by Kyla Pearce, Cronkite News)
How voter registration increases helped Democrats win in Maricopa County
Arizona has seen a change of demographics with younger voters and the emergence of people moving to the state has made Arizona increasingly competitive among both parties. In most states, voter registration is the first-most step in fulfilling citizen’s duty to vote as an American citizen. In Arizona, Democrats are winning partly due to increased voter registration in Maricopa County.
As of Nov. 3. there have been over 4.2 million voters registered in the state. Nearly 62% of those voters come from Maricopa County, the largest county in Arizona with about 4.5 million residents.
This general election has shown that Arizona is leaning blue.
In Maricopa County, Joe Biden is expected to win Arizona against President Donald Trump. Biden has received over 944,000 votes compared to the President’s 880,000.
Senate candidate Mark Kelly has claimed a victory receiving 931,000 votes. In Maricopa County, Kelly collected 53% of votes against incumbent Martha McSally
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema can run for re-election in 2024, leaving Arizona’s senators both Democrats for at least four more years. In the state’s congressional races, Democrats won five out of nine districts. This further solidifies the change that is coming to Arizona politics.
The Arizona Coalition for Change (AZC4C) has been one key organization that has been active in registering voters. The coalition’s goal is empowering communities through civic engagement and voicing citizen concerns.
Isai Barajas, a field director for the coalition has played an integral part in registering voters by conducting person-to-person outreach and hosting voter registration drives.
“Arizona is looking that way because a lot of Californians are coming, that is definitely a big impact on why the state is turning blue,” Barajas said.
The last Democrat to win Arizona was Bill Clinton in 1996. That year he captured 46.5% of the vote. Arizona became more closely watched by Democrats in 2016 when Arizona voters gave Trump about a 4 percent lead over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
This is a closer margin compared to 2012 where Republican Mitt Romney received 9 percent more of the vote than President Obama.
Director Jason Barraza from Veridus, a multidisciplinary government relations firm, noted that Democrats are extremely active in voter registration.
“The Arizona Democratic Party during the off-years usually have a significant voter registration drive where they actively seek out and find individuals who aren’t registered yet for an effort to get them registered,” Barajas said.
Barraza noted the significance of Arizona becoming a swing state. “This is the first time in recent history I think Arizona was on the map for both candidates.”
Although this is changing, a majority of the registered voters are Republicans; the party has over 35% of registered voters. Democrats have captured over 32% of registered voters, and over 31% of registered voters claim “No Party Preference.”
Since the Primary Election on Aug 4, over 164,000 people had registered to vote. This 6 percent increase allowed for Maricopa County to increase its voter registration to nearly 2.6 million.
Taylor Payne, a Criminology and Criminal Justice Major at Arizona State’s Watts College, was one of those voters who registered.
Payne, originally from Missouri decided to register after becoming a resident. She noted the process was much simpler in Arizona.
“I just filled out a form when I applied for my driver’s license and then checked and made sure to double-check online that it processed before voter registration ended.”
“I also chose to vote in Arizona because it is a swing state. I knew I was most likely going to and did vote blue. A blue vote in Missouri would not do anything in a bleeding red state. I thought my vote could make a bigger difference and impact in Arizona,” Payne said.