Fifty Arizona school districts are asking voters in their communities to approve bond/override elections this year. Voters have a history of approving most school district bond/override elections, but just who are Arizona’s voters today?
About 47.52 percent of Arizona’s 3.23 million voters, cast ballots in the 2014 general election, according to the 2014 General Election State of Arizona official canvass from the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. The voter turnout for that election ranged from a low of 35.47 percent of eligible voters in Yuma County to a high of 61.09 percent in Yavapai County.
That year, 88 percent of bond elections were successful, and 67 percent of override and 50 percent of capital override elections were approved by voters, according to a report by Stifel, Nicolaus and Company, Inc. The rate of bond/override approvals in 2014 was higher than in the past five years, said Randie Stein, director of the public finance team at Stifel Nicolaus in Phoenix.
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In 2014, independent voters, 34.9 percent, edged out Republicans, 34.8 percent, as the majority in Arizona, according to Vision 2025: Arizona Comes of Age.
Also, more Arizonans identified themselves then as moderates, 32 percent, than conservatives, 28 percent, according to Gallup Analytics U.S. Daily Tracking 2013-2014 in the Vision 2025: Arizona Comes of Age Report. Arizonans’ political views matched those of the nation overall.
Arizona also follows the national trend with voters aged 60 to 69 years voting more than any other age group, at 64 percent, while voters aged 18 to 29 vote the least, at 16%, according to the Current Population Survey Voting and Registration Supplement: Arizona from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Slightly more Arizona women, 42 percent, than men, 39 percent, voted in the election, which also tracks national trends. The percentages don’t add up to 100 percent, because the results are based on people’s responses to a survey, and some respondents may have chosen to leave that answer blank, said they were not registered to vote or said they were registered but did not vote.
The data in “Who Votes? Congressional Elections and the American Electorate: 1976-2014” and the “Current Population Survey Voting and Registration Supplement: Arizona” from the U.S. Census Bureau are based on people’s responses to the November Current Population Survey Voting and Registration, a survey the civilian non-institutionalized population in the United States (people in correctional facilities and nursing homes are not included).
In Arizona, voters who identified themselves as white and non-Hispanic made up the majority in the 2014 election, 46 percent, while voters who identified themselves as Hispanic were just 32 percent of voters in that election. This also matched national trends.
Mail-in ballots are becoming an important factor in the outcome of school district bond and override measures, because more people are opting to vote by mail and the participation rate of those requesting mail in ballots is higher than the overall voter participation rate, Stein said.
Sixty percent of Arizona voters were on the permanent early voting list in 2014, according to a Cronkite News Service story. In the U.S., 20.9 percent of voters voted by mail in 2014, compared to 68.9 percent who voted in person on election day, and 10.3 percent who voted early. That is a three-fold increase since 1996, according to the U.S. Census Bureau report Who Votes? Congressional Elections and the American Electorate: 1978-2014.