Earlier primary election creates burden for student voters

By Julia Shumway | Arizona Capitol Times

It was an uncontroversial legislative change, backed by county recorders happy for more time between elections and lawmakers who wanted more time to make their case to voters.

But a 2019 law moving the August primary a few weeks earlier created an unanticipated obstacle for a group of voters. College students, who historically have been back on campus for the fall semester by the time the primary rolled around in late August, may not have returned by the first Tuesday in August.

Justin Heywood, director of civic engagement for Undergraduate Student Government at Arizona State University’s Tempe campus, said the new primary date means students will have to be proactive in the spring or summer in updating absentee ballot addresses. And that, in turn, means student government and campus clubs that register voters and encourage participation in elections need to step up their outreach efforts in the spring, he said.

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