2019 School elections results show that Arizona voters approved about 75 percent of the 62 school bond and override elections and two lease/sale of school property elections.
Infographic by Lisa Irish/AZEdNews
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The spread between yes and no votes shrunk in the Peoria Unified School District override election, but the no vote is leading the yes vote by 133 votes.
The Dysart Unified School District bond election no vote was 365 more than the yes vote, and the no vote on the override was 3,433 voted ahead of the yes vote.
Voter turnout was “25 percent, which means three out of four voters stayed home,” said Paul Bentz, senior vice president of research & strategy at HighGround Public Affairs Consultants Inc., on Wednesday at an Arizona Association of School Business Officials meeting in Glendale.
“It’s still low turnout, it’s just better turnout,” Bentz said.
That means schools’ efforts to get out the vote are working, but they need to do more of them, Bentz said.
“We’ve seen some pretty big shifts in voter demographics,” Bentz said.
Off-cycle elections in Maricopa County are typically 58 percent Republican, 32 percent Democrat and 10 percent Independents, Bentz said.
“Independents tend to not participate in these off-cycle elections, because there’s some confusion on what elections they can and can’t participate in,” Bentz said.
“What we saw in 2019, what we saw in 2018 and what we’re seeing now is that Independent and Party Not Declared voter participation is up significantly – up 15 points compared to a typcial off-cycle,” Bentz said.
“That’s really good news. Those folks tend to care a lot about education,” Bentz said. “They’re not all 100 percent pro education voters, but education is their top issue.”
Bentz said younger voters are increasing, but 45 percent of Arizona voters are over the age of 65.
“We know how to talk to those folks. We know they read the mail, we know they read the publicity pamphlet, we know they’re going to participate, so you have to talk to those voters,” Bentz said.