Primaries rapidly approach

KINGMAN - It's an even-numbered year in Arizona and September is rapidly approaching. Primary elections are just around the corner.

The primary elections are the process by which parties nominate their candidates for election. In this election, according to Mohave County Elections Director Allen Tempert, no one is actually selected for the given offices; it simply narrows the sea of candidates down to an appropriate number given the office.

In Arizona, Tempert said, there are three recognized parties - the Republican Party, the Democrat Party and the Libertarian Party.

If a voter is registered under one of these parties, they will be given the corresponding ballot for the candidates running under the banner of these parties. If a voter is not registered under one of the recognized parties, they are allowed to pick from the three ballots for the primary.

Primaries always occur eight weeks prior to the November general election, which is held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

"Primaries differ across the states depending on state laws and regulations, but the general elections are standard across the country," Tempert said.

General elections differ from primaries, he said, because they have a common ballot. All candidates seeking office, regardless of party affiliation, are put on one ballot for the public to choose from, he said.

"Many professional politicians and party leaders hate the primary stage of a campaign because a genuine primary is a fight within the family of the party - a fight that can turn nasty as different factions within the family compete with each other to secure a place on the November ballot for their candidate," said Judith Trent and Robert Friedenberg, authors of "Political Campaign Communication."

This year's primary election will be the first in the county where the new touch screen booths, acquired through state grants, will be used.

"The Help America Vote Act demanded that, by the general election year, all states have voting techniques available which allow people with handicaps to vote independently," Tempert said.

In response to this requirement, Tempert said Mohave County purchased touch screen voting equipment. This technology allows those who are visually impaired to either magnify the ballot or have the ballot read to them. Others who have issues holding pens can vote easily using the touch screen as well as the keypad.

Tempert said this equipment would be available at all 73 precinct locations.

Anyone who wishes to have a demonstration or learn how the touch screen machines work can call the elections department.

The last day to request an early ballot is Sept. 1. The last day of early voting in the September primaries is Sept. 8. Early voting is currently being held at the Mohave County Administration Complex at 700 W. Beale St. The primary election will be held on Sept. 12.

The last day to register to vote in the primary was Monday. The last day to register for the general election is Oct. 10. Early voting for the general election begins Oct. 5.

For more information about your voting precinct, call Voters' Registration at 753-0767.