Last year saw more state-level legislation to restrict abortion access than any other year in the last three decades, and hundreds of new abortion restriction bills have been introduced into state legislatures this year. That’s just one indicator of what’s at stake in this election year. Political assaults on women’s health care have been many, both nationally and here in Arizona. Just months ago, Arizona lawmakers voted on bills that attacked employer coverage for birth control, access to medically necessary abortions, and health care choices for AHCCCS users.
With online registration and mail-in ballots, voting is easier than ever.
The Arizona primary election on August 28, 2012 will give voters the opportunity to turn the tide. To help voters, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive health and freedom. Along with those endorsements, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates,” spotlighting each Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona-endorsed candidate. To accompany the information on candidates and issues we’ve been sharing, here’s a quick guide to voting in Arizona, to help readers make sure their voices are heard in 2012!
Who Is Eligible to Vote?
To register to vote in Arizona, you must be a U.S. citizen and a resident of Arizona, as well as a resident of the county listed on your registration. You should also be at least 18 years old by the date of the next election.
If you have had a past felony conviction you cannot vote unless you have had your civil rights restored (please see the last section).
How Can I Register to Vote?
You can register to vote online using EZ Voter Registration, use a printable form available online, contact your County Recorder to request a voter registration form by mail, or show up in person at your Country Recorder’s office to register to vote.
Proof of citizenship is required if you are registering to vote for the first time in Arizona or have moved to a different county in Arizona. Information on what qualifies as proof of citizenship is available on the Arizona Secretary of State’s website.
What Circumstances Require Re-Registering?
Any time you move to a new residence or change your name, you will need to register to vote again. If you wish to change your political party affiliation, that also requires registering again. Re-registering on EZ Voter Registration usually takes a few minutes or less, and it gives you the opportunity to opt in or out of the Permanent Early Voting List to receive early ballots (by mail) for all elections you’re eligible to vote in. If you have an Arizona driver’s license or Arizona non-operating identification issued after October 1, 1996, your number from it, your name as it appears on it, and your date of birth are the only identifying information you need to complete the process.
What is the Deadline for Registering to Vote?
To be able to vote in a coming election, you have to be registered 29 days prior to it. Registration for the August 28 primary closes on July 30 at midnight. Registration for the November 6 general election closes on October 9 at midnight.
How Do I Find What District I’m in?
Due to recent redistricting, you should check to make sure you know your legislative district. You can use the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission’s online District Locator to find out what legislative district you live in.
How Do I Find My Polling Place?
You can visit the Arizona Secretary of State’s online Voter View tool to find out your polling place. Click on “Search Your Polling Place” to find out where you should go to vote.
What Do I Need to Bring with Me to My Polling Place?
In order to vote, you will need to bring identification with you. If you have one form of identification that shows your name, current address, and a photograph of you (such as a valid Arizona driver’s license, valid Arizona non-operating identification license, or tribal identification), that will be sufficient. If you don’t have a form of identification that meets all three criteria, you can bring two forms of identification, as long as they meet these requirements:
- Two different forms of identification, each of which show your name and address
- One form of identification with a photograph of you and another form of identification that shows your name and address
Examples of identification without photographs include recent utility bills in your name, a vehicle registration in your name, and an Indian census card. More examples and specific information about what qualifies as identification are available on the Arizona Secretary of State’s website.
What Does It Mean if I Get a Provisional Ballot?
It’s best to avoid having to use a provisional ballot by following the information above. However, provisional ballots are necessary in some circumstances. More specific information about provisional ballots is available on the PPAA blog in the article “Provisional Ballots — How to Avoid Them and What to Do if You Have to Vote One.”
How Can I Vote by Mail (Get an Early Ballot)?
To vote by mail, contact your County Recorder.
What If I Need Assistance Filling Out My Ballot, Haven’t Had My Civil Rights Restored, or Am a Long-Distance Voter?
If you are unable to fill out a ballot because of a disability, someone else can fill it out on your behalf and put their signature in a box to verify that it was filled out and signed on your behalf.
If you have had a one-count felony conviction and no other felony convictions in Arizona, your civil rights should be automatically restored after you’ve completed your sentence (including probation) and paid any fines you incurred. If you have had two or more felony convictions, Arizona law requires that your probation officer or court provide written information about restoring your civil rights. More information is available on the ACLU of Arizona webpage “Restore Your Voting Rights.”
If you are an out-of-county, domestic military voter, information is available on the Arizona Secretary of State’s website about contacting your County Recorder. Your County Recorder can provide information about submitting a ballot online, by fax, or by mail. If you are an overseas military voter, you can visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s website to find the toll-free number you need to call to be connected to your County Recorder. You can also use their Live Chat service for information on overseas voting.
If you are a non-military, long-distance voter, you can vote by mail by contacting your County Recorder.