Oct 20, 2022 - Politics

Midterm elections 2022: Voting in Phoenix

Illustration of a white podium changing into a voting booth and then changing into three campaign signs, over a divided red and blue background.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

As Election Day approaches, Arizona races very well could decide the national political landscape. Here's everything you need to know about registering, voting and what's on your ballot in Phoenix.

Why it matters: Arizona voters will decide on a new governor, secretary of state and attorney general, each of whom is expected to make consequential decisions about abortion, elections, the economy and more.

  • Meanwhile: Both Republicans and Democrats in Washington view Arizona as crucial to their hopes to maintain — or gain — a majority in the U.S. Senate.

Voting in metro Phoenix

There are many ways to cast your ballot in Maricopa County.

📬 Vote by mail

  • If you've requested an early ballot (check here), it should have arrived already.
  • If you haven't requested one, you still can through Oct 28.
  • Your ballot must be received by 7pm on Nov. 8 to count. The county recommends getting it in the mail by Nov. 1 to ensure on-time arrival.

☑️ Vote early, in person

  • If you're a Maricopa County resident, you can cast a ballot at several voting centers through Nov. 4.

📥 Drop off your mail-in ballot

  • If you get a ballot mailed to you but don't send it back in time (or don't want to put it in the mail), you can drop it off at any vote center during early voting or on Election Day.

🗳️ Vote on Election Day

  • You can cast your ballot at any voting center in the county on Election Day.
  • The centers will be open from 6am to 7pm. You will be allowed to vote as long as you're in line by 7pm.

U.S. Senate: Mark Kelly (D) vs. Blake Masters (R)

Photo illustration of Mark Kelly and Blake Master
Sen. Mark Kelly (left) and Blake Masters. Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photos: Rebecca Noble, Mario Tama/Getty Images

State of play: Former astronaut Mark Kelly won a special election in 2020 to serve out the final two years of Republican Sen. John McCain's term after he died. That gave Democrats control of both of Arizona's Senate seats for the first time since 1952.

  • He's being challenged in his bid for a full term by Republican Blake Masters, a venture capitalist who worked for tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel and ran his nonprofit foundation.
  • Masters was endorsed by former President Trump in the GOP primary and has sought to tie Kelly to President Biden's record on border security and high inflation. Kelly has portrayed Masters as too extreme on issues like abortion and Social Security.

Go deeper: See where they stand on border security, the economy and abortion.

Arizona governor: Katie Hobbs (D) vs. Kari Lake (R)

Photo illustration of Katie Hobbs, tinted blue, and Kari Lake, tinted red, separated by a white halftone divider.
Katie Hobbs (left) and Kari Lake. Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Mario Tama and Brandon Bell/Getty Images

With Republican Gov. Doug Ducey termed out, Democrats are hoping Secretary of State Katie Hobbs can turn the state blue, while Republicans want to install an even more conservative governor in Kari Lake.

State of play: The campaign for the state's top job has been full of negative attacks, with Lake trying to paint Hobbs as weak on crime and the economy and Hobbs calling Lake dangerous and unqualified because of her claims about unproven voter fraud in the 2020 election.

  • Hobbs has been secretary of state since 2019, and she spent eight years in the legislature, including as the Senate's Democratic leader. She spent much of her career before running for office as a social worker.
  • Republican Kari Lake spent 22 years as a news anchor at Fox 10. She left the station in 2021 and launched her campaign for governor shortly afterward.

Go deeper:

Arizona secretary of state: Mark Finchem (R) vs. Adrian Fontes (D)

Photo illustration of Adrian Fontes and Mark Finchem.
Adrian Fontes (left) and Mark Finchem. Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Alonso Parra, Mario Tama/Getty Images

The secretary of state is Arizona's top election official, and rarely do two candidates for the office have such differing views of how elections should be run than Republican Mark Finchem and Democrat Adrian Fontes.

  • Finchem is a real estate agent and former police officer who has been a member of the Arizona House of Representatives since 2015.
  • Fontes is an attorney who served as Maricopa County recorder from 2017-20.

State of play: The 2022 race between the candidates has largely been defined by the 2020 presidential election.

  • Finchem is among the state's most ardent supporters of the false claims that the election was rigged against former President Trump and was part of the rally on Jan. 6 in Washington that preceded the Capitol insurrection.
  • Fontes has defended the integrity of the 2020 election, which he oversaw in Maricopa County.

Go deeper:

Arizona attorney general: Abe Hamadeh (R) vs. Kris Mayes (D)

Photo illustration of Kris Mayes, tinted blue, and Abe Hamadeh, tinted red, separated by a white halftone divider.
Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Rebecca Noble/Bloomberg via Getty Images and Mario Tama/Getty Images

Arizonans will elect a new Attorney General this year after current AG Mark Brnovich ran unsuccessfully for a U.S. senate seat.

  • His successor will likely represent the state in legal issues pertaining to immigration, abortion and other consequential issues.
  • They will also be tasked with prosecuting consumer fraud and white collar crime cases.

State of play: The two candidates have extremely disparate views on abortion, election integrity and more.

  • Abe Hamadeh is a former Army Reserve intelligence officer and a political newcomer endorsed by former President Trump.
  • Kris Mayes is a former corporation commissioner. She was a Republican until switching parties in 2019.

Go deeper:

A voting booth that says "vote" but the V is a checkmark.
Illustration: Victoria Ellis/Axios

Other statewide races

Treasurer: Incumbent Kimberly Yee (R) vs. Martín Quezada (D)

Why it matters: The treasurer oversees the state's finances and, along with the Board of Investment, determines how state and other government revenues are invested.

State superintendent of public instruction: Incumbent Kathy Hoffman (D) vs. Tom Horne (R)

Why it matters: The superintendent oversees Arizona's public education system by enforcing curriculum standards, distributing funding, issuing teaching certificates and auditing school systems.

Arizona Corporation Commission

Why it matters: The commission regulates public utility companies and approves the rates they can charge for power and water.

  • It also registers corporations, regulates railroad and pipeline safety and governs securities sales.

Go deeper: Read about the candidates and other underrated races.

Maricopa County attorney: Julie Gunnigle (D) vs. Rachel Mitchell (R)

Photo illustration of Julie Gunnigle and Rachel Mitchell.
Julie Gunnigle (left) and Rachel Mitchell. Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Julie Gunnigle for Maricopa County Attorney, Rachel Mitchell for Maricopa County Attorney

This year's Maricopa County Attorney's race has turned into a proxy vote on the future of criminal justice, law enforcement and abortion rights in our region.

Why it matters: County attorneys prosecute almost all criminal cases and decide whether police officers face charges in use-of-force cases.

State of play: The late Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel resigned in March. The Board of Supervisors appointed Republican Rachel Mitchell to take over. She is running to keep the position.

  • Mitchell, a veteran of the office, gained national attention as the GOP investigative counsel during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's nomination hearing.
  • Her Democratic challenger, Julie Gunnigle, is a former Illinois prosecutor who has practiced and taught law in Arizona. She most recently worked as the political director of AZ NORML, a marijuana reform advocacy group. She lost to Adel in 2020.

Go deeper:

Congressional races

Illustration of the state of Arizona with shifting red and blue districts inside it.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Several congressional races are up for grabs as Republicans look to win some Democrat-controlled House seats.

The big picture: Republicans are hoping anti-Democratic sentiment and favorable changes from last year's redistricting process can help them regain the majority in Arizona's U.S. House delegation.

Here's our roundup of the most competitive House races in the state.

1st Congressional District: The district, which includes Scottsdale and parts of north and central Phoenix, is the only competitive district currently held by the GOP. It has a slight Republican edge based on voter performance in past elections.

2nd Congressional District: The sprawling rural district that stretches from the northernmost part of the state into Pinal County is represented by Democratic incumbent Tom O'Halleran, whose competitive district became far more Republican-leaning after redistricting.

4th Congressional District: Covering Tempe, Ahwatukee and parts of Mesa and Chandler, the district is considered relatively safe for Democrats but just competitive enough that Republicans are hoping to pull off the upset.

6th Congressional District: Of the four districts that could be considered competitive this year, this Tucson-based seat is the only one that's wide open, thanks to the retirement of Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick.

Go deeper: Learn about Arizona's most competitive congressional races.

Competitive districts will decide control of legislature

Illustration of the Arizona State Capitol with lines radiating from it.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

All 90 seats in the state legislature are up for election. But with most of them either dominantly Democratic or Republican, it's really just a maximum of 15 seats in five districts that are considered competitive and that will determine which party controls the Senate and House.

State of play: This will be the state's first election under its new legislative map, which was redrawn by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC) late last year.

  • The commission determined districts' competitiveness using the outcomes of nine statewide races in the past three election cycles and the average vote spread — the difference between Democrats and Republicans in those nine races.
  • Republicans currently hold narrow majorities in both chambers, with advantages of 16-14 in the Senate and 31-29 in the House.

Go deeper: Learn more about the candidates in the five competitive districts that will decide control of the legislature.

Your guide to Phoenix City Council elections

Illustration of Phoenix City Hall with abstract ballot shapes.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Half of Phoenix's city council seats are on the ballot Nov. 8, guaranteeing at least one and as many as three new faces on the dais.

Why it matters: The new blood could help Mayor Kate Gallego, a moderate Democrat, form a more centrist coalition after getting hamstrung by the council's progressive wing for the past three years.

State of play: All eyes are on the open District 6 seat and the District 8 race, where incumbent Carlos Garcia faces multiple challengers.

  • Councilmember Laura Pastor is running unopposed in District 4.
  • If no candidate gets 50% plus one vote, there will be a runoff in March 2023.

District 2

Location: Northeast Phoenix

State of play: Incumbent Jim Waring has two challengers but a bucketload of campaign cash and name ID to fend them off.

District 6

Location: Ahwatukee, Arcadia, Biltmore and parts of north central Phoenix.

State of play: It's the end of an era as Sal DiCiccio, an outspoken and combative conservative who's on his second stint with the council, leaves due to term limits.

District 8

Location: Parts of downtown and most of south Phoenix.

State of play: Activist and political organizer Garcia shocked some of the City Hall establishment with his 2019 victory. Now he has three challengers looking to end his reign.

Go deeper: Read about the candidates running for Phoenix City Council.

Arizona ballot propositions

There are 10 propositions on the statewide ballot, two of which were referred through the citizen initiative process.

  • Proposition 128: Allows lawmakers to repeal or amend voter-approved laws if a court ruled that they contained illegal or unconstitutional language.
  • Proposition 129: Limits citizen initiatives that change state statute to a single subject, a standard that is already in place for initiatives that amend the Arizona Constitution.
  • Proposition 130: Repeals and consolidates property tax exemption laws and would allow the legislature to enact exemptions for veterans with disabilities, widows and widowers.
  • Proposition 131: Creates a lieutenant governor position who would run on a ticket with gubernatorial nominees. They would be first in the line of succession if the governor leaves office early.
  • Proposition 132: Requires ballot propositions that raise taxes to receive at least 60% of the vote to pass, instead of a simple majority.
  • Proposition 209: Decreases the maximum interest rate on medical debt from 10% to 3%, and reduces the amount of property and income that can be seized to pay for medical debt.
  • Proposition 211: Cracks down on the use of dark money, a term used for campaign spending by outside groups that don't disclose where they get their funds.
  • Proposition 308: Makes any student, regardless of immigration status, eligible for in-state university tuition and financial aid if they graduated from, or spent at least two years attending, high school in Arizona.
  • Proposition 309: Would impose voter identification measures on early ballots by requiring people to include either a state-issued identification number or the last four digits of their Social Security numbers in addition to the signatures and birthdates.
  • Proposition 310: Creates a Fire District Safety Fund, which would be funded through a 0.1% sales tax increase on certain types of businesses.

Go deeper: Learn more about the propositions on your ballot.

City elections to watch in Peoria, Scottsdale, Mesa and Gilbert

Illustration of a voting pin surrounded by election form icons
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's easy to fixate on our federal and statewide elections, but make sure you also get to the bottom of your ballot to weigh in on local races.

Why it matters: Your city government is responsible for picking up your trash, paving your roads, approving new development and doing a whole bunch of other things that impact your daily life probably more than any other political body.

State of play: We previously told you about Phoenix's council elections, and if you live in the suburbs, you may also have some important choices to make.

  • Here are the candidates on the ballot in Peoria, Mesa, Scottsdale and Gilbert.

Peoria mayor and council

What's happening: Mayor Cathy Carlat is termed out, and the unusually competitive and contentious race to replace her pits a city hall insider against a business owner in his first campaign for public office.

Mesa council

What's happening: In District 4, which contains the neighborhoods around downtown, no candidate got a majority of votes in the August election, so there will be a runoff on the November ballot.

Scottsdale council

What's happening: Seven candidates ran for three council seats in August, but only two — Kathy Littlefield and Solange Whitehead — got enough votes to win outright.

Go deeper: Read about the candidates in Gilbert, Mesa, Peoria and Scottsdale.

School bonds, overrides and city propositions in metro Phoenix

We've already walked you through the 10 statewide ballot propositions, but there are a few other hyperlocal questions you'll be asked to weigh in on in November's election.


Question 1: Home rule

Mesa is asking voters to continue to allow the city council to decide how much of its tax revenue it will spend instead of adhering to spending limits set by the state.

Question 2: Public safety bond

The city wants voters to approve a $157 million bond program that will fund three fire stations, a new police headquarters and several other public safety-related projects.

Proposition 476: Police and fire unions

This ballot measure would allow Mesa police and firefighter unions to collectively bargain with the city to establish a labor contract, which is currently outlawed in the city's charter.

Proposition 477: Spending procedures

Currently, the city council must approve any expense over $25,000.

School bonds and overrides

25 school districts in Arizona have bond or budget override issues on the ballot that would increase their funding by way of property taxes.

Be smart: The Maricopa County school superintendent's office has a list on its website of bond and override issues on the ballot this year, along with links where you can find more details about what your district is asking you to vote on.

Go deeper: Read about the local measures on your ballot.

What Arizonans care about: Abortion, the economy, border security and crime

Illustration of a pattern of checkmarks that turn into question marks and vice versa, over a red and blue background with a pattern of ballot elements.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

With the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, inflation and a surge in fentanyl and crime, Arizonans have a lot to think about at the ballot box this year.

Abortion: The future of abortion access is still unclear in Arizona.

  • In late September, a Pima County judge allowed a pre-statehood law that bans almost all abortions to take effect.
  • The state Court of Appeals blocked the law this month pending an appeal of the September decision. Now, abortion providers are operating under a law passed this year that allows abortion up to 15 weeks.

The economy: Arizona's economic outlook is a mixed bag right now.

  • Phoenix led the nation with the largest consumer price index (CPI) increase in August.
  • Yes, but: Unemployment is still near a record low and home prices are starting to stabilize after more than a year of exponential growth.

Border security: Border Patrol encounters at the southwestern border have risen sharply since 2019, raising concerns about violence, humanitarian crises and fentanyl smuggling.

Crime: In Phoenix, murders and assaults are on the rise, though other categories of violent crime are decreasing.

  • Republicans in federal, state and local races have tried to paint their opponents as soft on crime because of their support for police accountability measures.

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