Voter Turnout Reaches New Heights

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Arizona law requires that I canvass the General Election results for the State of Arizona Monday, Nov. 27, 2000. As I prepare to perform this duty in conjunction with the governor, the attorney general and the chief justice of the Supreme Court, I want to congratulate the voters of Arizona for their participation in the election. Voter turnout for the General Election is 71.8 percent, a significant increase from the 63.9 percent turnout in the 1996 Presidential election.

I also want to congratulate and thank all the county recorders, organizations and businesses who worked on voter outreach and registration throughout the State for the last few months. More than 130,000 voters registered between the primary election cutoff date and the registration deadline for the general election. On the last day of registration alone, we registered more than 40,000 new voters.

For a number of years, Arizona voter turnout has been decreasing. Both the primary and general elections this year have reversed that trend and I hope we can continue in that direction.

The radio, television and print media in our state are to be commended for their role in highlighting the importance of the election, raising awareness and understanding of the races and issues, and urging their audiences to register and to exercise their voting rights.

Since I became Secretary of State in 1997, one of my top priorities has been to encourage every eligible voter in Arizona to register to vote, become informed on the candidates and the issues, and vote in our elections. We have partnered with Rock the Vote to initiate a birthday card voter registration program for 18-year-olds and hired a Voter Outreach Director to work with minority communities and to pursue voter education and registration projects.

We created a statewide toll-free elections hotline (1-877-THE-VOTE) and made the voter registration form available on the Secretary of State Web site (www.sosaz.com).

We were astonished by the thousands of individuals that immediately used the Internet voter registration form to register for this election. Web site access to the voter registration form has been a tremendously successful way to make registering to vote easier than ever.

After the canvass, we will turn our focus to upcoming elections with continued voter education and registration efforts.

I hope we all have a renewed appreciation for the value of a single vote.

Betsey Bayless, Secretary of State

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