By Corinne Murdock |
Independent voters are now the largest voting group in Arizona, toppling the Republican Party for the first time in years.
Secretary of State Adrian Fontes’ office advised ABC 15 of this change earlier this month, pending the upcoming publication of their quarterly voter registration report. Independent voters last outranked both the Republican and Democratic parties in 2016.
The most current data available on the secretary of state’s website, from April, registered over 1.43 million independent voters.
In two months, that number grew to surpass the leading number of Republican voters at the time, which was just over 1.44 million. Democratic voters totaled over 1.26 million. The “No Labels” party at the time had 17 voters total; the secretary of state’s office also disclosed that the party had grown to around 6,000.
Libertarian voters registered at over 33,300 in April.
Last year, the number of registered independent voters decreased from over 1.44 million in April to just over 1.4 million in the general election. Republican voters decreased from over 1.47 million to over 1.43 million; Democratic voters decreased from 1.33 million to 1.27 million.
At the time of the 2020 election, which had more registered voters than in April, there were over 1.35 million independent voters. Republicans had over 1.5 million registered voters, while Democrats had over 1.37 million.
The 2016 general election — which had over 815,600 less voters registered than the most recent registration counts — had over 1.21 million independent voters compared to over 1.23 million Republican voters and just over 1 million Democratic voters. Although the number of registered independent voters increased from May to November 2016, there were more to register as Republican during the same time frame.
The 2016 general election broke a two-year streak in which more voters registered as independents than anything else. Midway through former President Barack Obama’s second term, more registered as independents than Republicans. There were around 900,000 less registered voters at the time.
Ahead of last year’s midterm election, some candidates sought to appeal to the growing base of independents.
In this century, independents first outranked Democrats after the 2010 midterm election. In July 2011, registered independent voters (over 1 million) surpassed registered Democratic voters (over 999,000).
Independent voters have maintained that lead on Democratic voters since then — 12 years.
The shift in 2011 also marked the first session in which Republicans enjoyed their largest majority in the state legislature since 1981: 21 Republicans to 9 Democrats in the Senate, and 40 Republicans to 20 Democrats in the House. Since then, the majority has dwindled. This session, there’s a slim majority: 15 Republicans to 14 Democrats in the Senate, and 31 Republicans to 29 Democrats in the House.
Independent voters may vote in all primaries except presidential.