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.