Arizona residents have just a week to register to vote in order to participate in the state’s presidential preference election on Feb. 5.
In accordance with Arizona law, only voters registered in recognized political parties are permitted to vote in the contests that will help determine the major parties’ presidential nominees.
This year, that means just Republicans and Democrats. The Libertarian Party is not conducting a presidential primary election.
Independent voters will also be shut out.
For those inclined to register or re-register, the deadline is Monday.
Arizona Secretary of State officials will accept voters’ registration paperwork until Monday at midnight, at the State Capitol Executive Tower, 1700 W. Washington St., in Phoenix.
Independents have become an increasingly important segment of the state’s voting population. More than a quarter of the state’s 2.7 million voters have declared themselves independents, according to the Secretary of State’s office, and their numbers are steadily creeping up.
At the same time, both the Republican and Democratic segment of the state’s voter base dipped. Democrats make up about 33 percent, Republicans about 38 percent.
Political experts are watching whether the presidential preference elections provide enough enticement for independents to sign up for the Republican or Democratic parties.
“The trend has been in the past that as the presidential campaigns really start going and people start getting an interest, we start seeing more people start registering toward those recognized parties,” said Kevin Tyne, spokesman for the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. “Whether or not that’s the case this year, we don’t know yet.”
State officials won’t have a good read on that until sometime later this month, he said.