Nov 10, 2022 - Politics

Split-ticket voters and other trends to watch in Arizona elections

Illustration of a question mark in a speech bubble with ballot elements in the background.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Most of Arizona's top races are still too close to call, but the vote counts we do have for them give us insight on where they are headed and why.

Why it matters: Voter turnout, unexpected results and trends help us understand Arizona's changing electorate and its priorities.

What we're seeing: A significant number of voters appear to have supported candidates from both parties instead of voting a straight Republican or Democratic ticket.

  • Concerns about election integrity have changed how some people choose to vote.
  • Arizonans are evenly split on hot-button issues but can find common ground on less-controversial matters.

Split tickets: So far, results show that Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and Democratic secretary of state candidate Adrian Fontes each received almost 25,000 more votes than Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Katie Hobbs.

  • In Maricopa County, Kelly has gotten more than 80,000 more votes than Democratic county attorney candidate Julie Gunnigle, who is trailing incumbent Rachel Mitchell.

Common ground: Most of the state's elections will come down to a few percentage points, but voters did grant commanding victories to two ballot initiatives aimed at increasing campaign finance transparency and combating predatory debt collection.

How we vote: Fewer people mailed in ballots because of security concerns pushed by Trump-backed candidates who claimed without evidence the 2020 election was stolen.

  • Instead, about 275,000 early ballots were dropped off at Maricopa County vote centers Tuesday, according to county officials. That's about 100,000 more than in 2020.
  • Of note: All of those ballots must be signature-verified, which will likely increase the time it takes for the county to tabulate votes.

Curveballs: Republican Michele Pena is leading for the second House seat in heavily Democratic District 23, which runs from Yuma to the southern edge of Tucson and into the West Valley.

  • Pena got on the general election ballot after running in the primary as a write-in.
  • The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC) projected the district to be strongly Democratic and didn't consider it to be competitive.
  • The district it replaced when AIRC redrew legislative maps last year was similarly Democratic but also elected a Republican to the House in 2020.

The bottom line: These are the trends emerging from the nearly 2 million ballots counted so far. We'll know more as the remaining nearly 620,000 ballots are counted throughout the week and into next.


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