Independents need to know voting rights in primaries

Voting remains one of the most sacred rights of the American people. It’s been said that many have sacrificed so that we may continue to enjoy this opportunity to take part in our nation’s democratic process at all levels of government. That is very true and a good thought to take with you to the ballot box — or the mail box if you vote by mail.

I have written about this issue may times in the past because for some, there is the misconception that Independents (like myself) are shut out from participating in primary elections. But this really matters in local elections where candidates often win outright if enough votes are cast in their favor. In Chandler’s case, six candidates are vying for three seats in the coming election.

Though the number of residents registered as Independent make up a little more than 30 percent of voters in Arizona, they continue to face a slight disadvantage when it comes to the ballot process. That is because Independents still must deal with the minor inconvenience – and additional step — of requesting the type of ballot they wish to submit for the Primary Election. This year’s Primary Election is scheduled for August 4, so now’s the time to ensure you can cast a ballot should you be registered an Independent.

Election season is well upon us, and registered voters on the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) should have received a post card verifying address information. If the data is correct, most do nothing. However, Independents must check a box asking for their ballot and whether it be in the form of the Republican, Democrat or City issues only ballot. Then, they must send the postcard back to receive the ballot of their choice. If you are registered Independent and missed or misplaced the PEVL postcard you can still request an early ballot be mailed by contacting the Maricopa County Election Department at 602-506-1511, or online at www.Request.Maricopa.Vote.

Many cities and towns have important issues on the primary ballot that include bond elections and changes to municipal charters – changes that could potentially affect your property and local sales tax rates. And, it’s quite possible the City of Chandler Primary Election could result in one, two or even three candidates being elected directly. These are issues that matter, and the candidates chosen will be the ones making important decisions over the next four years that will affect you and your family.

If you have yet to register to vote, you can do so through July 6 for the August 4 Primary Election. Early voting begins July 8 and the last day to request an early ballot be mailed to you is July 24. Early voting in person runs through July 31. Of course, with the COVID-19 pandemic, planning for a safe election continues to be a crucial concern and details of how this election will be staged remain fluid.

Also, the City of Chandler has produced a short video that also explains the process and can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6M11vrUDks&t=1s. And here is more information on the City’s upcoming Primary Election and the candidates who are running for Chandler City Council: https://www.chandleraz.gov/government/elections-and-voting/voter-information. I hope you’ll take a moment to visit.

Shop Local

Commentary by Rick Heumann
April 2020

Recently, while going through some old files, I came across a piece I had written with an eerily similar message that sadly resonates today.

A little more than 10 years ago, in the midst of the Great Recession, I wrote about the importance of shopping local in hard times. At the time, large layoffs were occurring, and furloughs were becoming quite common. Even one of Chandler’s own prized companies, Bashas, had just filed for bankruptcy amid the economic panic and fallout from the burst of the housing bubble. Today, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc throughout the business community. And that is why – more than ever — we need to keep a conscious effort to “Shop Chandler.”

While many storefronts have been forced to close to slow the pandemic’s spread, there are a few things we can still do to keep our local economy afloat. Many restaurants still offer pick-up and delivery throughout the city. Many have deals and discounts, so check their websites. If these were places you enjoyed and frequented when fully open, support them now in their greatest time of need. Additionally, many retail establishments allow online shopping and gift card purchases – a critical tool for them to maintain a small cash flow until we can safely and fully re-open and re-energize the economy.

Local First Arizona is a non-profit business coalition that represents about 3,000 small businesses in the state. Their website provides a terrific resource for its members and provides a great deal of information on the importance of shopping local.

Here are a few its reminders of why a local economy is vital to the community it serves:

  • National studies show that four times more dollars stay local when spent at community businesses versus large chains or online.
  • Local businesses tend to be unique, offer tremendous customer service and create a sense of place and foster community pride.
  • When you support a local business, you create demand for additional jobs across the state. How so? Because local businesses in turn do business with local companies in the community for products and services that they need to fulfill your orders and contracts. This “multiplier effect” creates and supports jobs throughout the state.
  • Local businesses are engaged in the cities and towns they serve and tend to be more conscious about their own impacts on the environment as well as the local economy. And, of course, shopping with local businesses that source their products locally leads to a smaller environmental footprint. 

I am convinced that when our nation, state and community emerge from this troubling time, we will do so confidently, and with the compassion and pride that has made this country great. In Chandler, our economy will work its way back to become the region’s leader in job creation and employment diversification. And, as always, our residents will continue to shop locally and support the local business community as we have for so many generations past, and for many years to come.