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Ducey signs bill to move up primary election date

By: - May 22, 2019 5:17 pm

Public domain image via Pixabay

Arizona’s primary election, among the latest in the country every two years, will be slightly earlier starting in 2020.

Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday signed Senate Bill 1154, which moves the primary election to the first Tuesday in August. From 2010 through 2018, the primary election was held at the end of August.

The 2020 primary will now be on Aug. 4 instead of Aug. 25.

Supporters of the bill have argued that Arizona’s primary is so late that it gives the nominees little time to introduce themselves to voters and campaign for the general election. Critics argued that the new primary date will disenfranchise voters who are less likely to be in town in early August, including college students who go home for the summer but are registered to vote where they go to school.

Others have urged lawmakers to move the primary as early as May or June, arguing that early August is still too late. Some lawmakers feel that wouldn’t give them enough time to campaign after the legislative session, which sometimes drags on into May or June.

In 2018, only six states had primary elections for their state races as late or later than Arizona’s Aug. 28 election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That includes New York, which, unlike Arizona and most other states, has separate primary elections for state and federal races, with the federal election coming earlier, and Louisiana, which holds its primary election for most offices on the day of the nationwide general election under its unique “top-two” system.

Under SB1154, Arizona’s primary election would still be among the country’s latest. Had Arizona’s 2018 primary been held on the first Tuesday of August, it would have moved ahead of an additional seven states, and would have been on the same day as four others, according to NCSL.

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Jeremy Duda
Jeremy Duda

Jeremy Duda is a Phoenix native and began his career in journalism in 2003 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Jeremy Duda previously served as the Mirror's associate Editor. Prior to joining the Arizona Mirror, he worked at the Arizona Capitol Times, where he spent eight years covering the Governor's Office and two years as editor of the Yellow Sheet Report. Before that, he wrote for the Hobbs News-Sun of Hobbs, NM, and the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. Jeremy is also the author of the history book “If This Be Treason: the American Rogues and Rebels Who Walked the Line Between Dissent and Betrayal.”