Parties pick up voters, but no nominating ballot for largest bloc in Arizona
Both the Democratic and Republican parties in Arizona gained voters before last week's deadline to register for the presidential nominating contest in the state. The number of non-party, "independent" voters fell, but the state's system can't provide data on which party those voters registered with, officials said.
Only registered members of parties with candidates running in the March 22 presidential preference election are eligible to cast ballots to help determine the nominee of their respective parties. There are elections for the Democrats, Republicans and Greens; independent voters — still the largest group of Arizona voters — are not eligible to participate in the party elections.
More than half of U.S. states have a presidential primary or caucus that is closed to all but party voters.
The number of registered voters in Arizona not signed up with a political party declined by 11,079 since January, officials said.
The Democrats picked up 30,623 enrolled voters, while the Republicans increased their rolls by 22,085 across the state. Just more than 600 voters added their names to the lists but were not registered with either major party, as total enrollment increased by 41,020.
Although the number of NPVs declined, and both Ds and Rs increased, it's not certain which way the formerly independent voters shifted their registrations, officials said.
Arizona's "antiquated system doesn't provide us that information," said Matt Roberts, a spokesman for the Secretary of State's Office.
"The next version will" track voters in that manner, he said.
Of Arizona's 3,295,417 voters, 948,034 are Democrats, with 1,127,606 registered Republicans across the state.
"Other" remains the most common choice among voters, with 1,189,951 registered voters not signed up with a party. There are 25,418 Libertarians, and 4,408 members of the Green Party.