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It’s no secret Verde Valley residents are passionate about politics.

From local races to the bid for the White House, residents involve themselves at all levels of the democratic process.

Campaign signs for individuals and propositions line the streets, while cars sport stickers announce where the drivers’ loyalties lie.

Sedona Red Rock News Managing Editor Trista Steers MacVittieOn election day Nov. 6, county residents proved they are the state’s most actively engaged populace.

Yavapai County recorded the highest voter turnout in the entire state with 81 percent of registered voters either sending in an Early Ballot or casting their vote at a polling center.

Turnout for all of Arizona came in under Yavapai County’s at 74.36 percent.

The county’s percentage says several things about the people who live here.

Residents obviously care about government decisions made by our representatives and find it important to be involved in the candidate selection process.

With this being said, and the fact that Yavapai County historically has the highest percentage of voter turnout, politicians running for state and federal office may want to start paying a little closer attention to the folks north of Phoenix.

Many candidates made poor showings at several candidate forums held in the Verde Valley in the fall causing some to be cancelled due to lack of participation.

Granted, the number of forums held just in the Verde Valley is sometimes ridiculous, and candidates no doubt receive more requests for attendance than they could possibly fulfill.

However, with 81 percent voter turnout, I know I’d spend time campaigning in Yavapai County because residents are obviously listening and participating.

Administrative changes made by the county foster voter participation making it almost impossible not to vote for any other reason than on principle.

The Permanent Early Voter List allows residents to add their name and be automatically sent a ballot in the mail during each election cycle. Voters don’t even have to leave their homes.

The recent establishment of voting centers give residents the opportunity to vote at any polling location throughout the entire county, not just specifically in their precinct. So, regardless of whether a person commutes for work or had plans to be somewhere else in the county Nov. 6, he or she could still vote.

Whichever means residents chose to cast their vote, they recognized the importance of participation and took it upon themselves to satisfy their civic duty.

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