The 2020 election produced the highest voter turnout in 120 years. And yet an estimated 80 million voters, one-third of those eligible, did not vote in that election. Voting is a civic responsibility that should be exercised consistently and never taken for granted. Voting has the power to impact people’s lives. For example, voters recently demonstrated power in Republican-leaning Kansas, where voters soundly defeated a ballot initiative to eliminate reproductive rights. Arizonans can harness that power to protect their rights by voting in November.

At stake in November are our rights to quality and fully funded public education system, reproductive freedom, commonsense measures to promote gun safety, and free and fair elections. Republican legislators have consistently used their voting majority to block legislation supporting these goals. As a result, the Republican majority is despised and has dwindled to a single vote in both houses, which provides Arizonans with an opportunity. By flipping just two seats in each house, we can rightsize the Legislature to reflect the interests and preferences of all Arizonans more fairly. This is doable. It can happen in November, provided we all vote.

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A formula for success

The AZ Constitution was revised in 2000 to create balanced voting districts where the best ideas and candidates can be heard and have a chance to prevail. Regrettably, many Arizona districts remain imbalanced and thereby safe for one political party or the other. Voters in these districts determine who represents them in the State Legislature, but they aren’t likely to impact the balance of power there. Legislative districts with more or less equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats have that potential because the outcome can be influenced by a small number of voters who opt to cast ballots based not on party affiliation but on core values they share with candidates.

A Caveat: While voters in safe districts are less likely to affect the balance of power in the State Legislature, their votes are critical in all statewide and federal elections and local elections like school boards. Republican candidates running for Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General and Superintendent of Public Instruction have made it clear they will, if elected, use their power to continue undermining the majority’s will in Arizona.

I mention this not to silence Republican voices. All voices should be heard — including Republican voices silenced in recent years by threats of reprisal. In fact, more and more of them are becoming our partners in saving democracy. Sharing diverse perspectives respectfully and working together to find lawful solutions we can all accept is the way our republic was designed to work. Let’s preserve it! Let’s all vote.

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