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New party petitions for the Arizona Presidential Preference Elections ­­— elections to determine delegates to respective parties’ candidate nominating conventions — require 20,449 signatures. The last day to submit to the county recorder for signature verification is Saturday, Nov. 3, at 5 p.m.
By Mike Cosentino
Larson Newspapers

Those planning to run for president better get started.

New party petitions for the Arizona Presidential Preference Elections ­­— elections to determine delegates to respective parties’ candidate nominating conventions — require 20,449 signatures. The last day to submit to the county recorder for signature verification is Saturday, Nov. 3, at 5 p.m.

There is more than a little confusion regarding the upcoming election season. It is not too early to start sorting it, considering registration deadlines are not all that far off.

Coupled with that fact that, currently, the presidential preference election, which choose party convention delegates, is being confused with the primary election, in which voters choose a party candidate.

“The presidential preference is going to be held on [Tuesday] Feb. 26. Yes, in some states, it is called the presidential preference primary. Here in Arizona, we call it the Presidential Preference Election. The date is subject to change by law,” according to an e-mail from the office of Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer.

The buzz around the capitol is that Gov. Janet Napolitano will changing the date to Tuesday, Feb. 5, but it is not official.

That date will align Arizona will several other states holding presidential preference elections, including California and New York.

“The governor may issue a proclamation moving the Presidential Preference Election to a date earlier that the fourth Tuesday in February. This proclamation shall be issued no later than 150 days before the date of the election set forth in the proclamation,” according to Brewer’s e-mail. 

The e-mail included the reminder that, “If the governor changes the presidential preference election date then the other dates associated with it will also change.”

States that have approved or might be planning some form of the Feb. 5 Democratic presidential primary election or caucus are: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah.

Republicans have presidential preference elections in California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia.

For most states this is a delegate-selection process.

“In order not to lose out on influencing this very important process, it is important that voters realize that this special presidential primary will be a closed primary. In other words, the usual rules regarding open primaries [in Arizona] will not apply. Ballots for expressing a preference for a presidential candidate can only be provided to members of political parties participating in the presidential preference election,” Yavapai County Democratic Party Vice Chairwoman Angela Lefevre said.

“This means that anyone who is registered as anything other than Republican or Democrat, that means Libertarian, Green, independent or other, will not be able to vote in this primary at the present time,” Lefevre said.

The fastest-growing number of registrations in Arizona has been as independents, according to Lefevre.

Bryan Detwiler, one-time Republican candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives and party activist agreed.

“The Arizona primaries are coming up and sorting out the issues is important,” he said.

Registration forms are available at local post offices, libraries and voter registration offices in Cottonwood for Yavapai County residents and in Flagstaff for Coconino County residents.

Eligible voters can also re-register online at www.servicearizona.com.

Voters can re-register as an independent afterwards and be able to vote as usual in the regular “open” primaries on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2008, and the General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008.



Mike Cosentino can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 128, or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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