Public forum: Arizona’s Voter Crisis

    October 24, 2018 @ 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
    YWCA of Southern Arizona
    525 N Bonita Ave
    Tucson, AZ 85745

    Hosted by Citizens Clean Elections Commission

    “An Oct. 24 forum will include findings from two published reports: “Arizona’s Voter Crisis” and “Primary Elections: Primarily Forgotten.” Morrison Institute’s Joseph Garcia will be joined by Tom Collins, executive director of Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission, to discuss the voter crisis. Andrea Whitsett, director of Morrison Institute, will open the forum with a welcoming address. There will also be an open discussion on ways to improve the state’s 43rd ranking in terms of voter participation.

    The public forum will be held Oct. 24, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., at the YWCA Southern Arizona, 525 N. Bonita Ave. (just south of West St. Mary’s Road, west of Interstate 10 and downtown Tucson). The event is free and refreshments will be served.

    According to a study by Morrison Institute for Public Policy, as part of voter education/engagement project by Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission, Arizona is experiencing a voter crisis, with nearly half of the voting-eligible population failing to cast a ballot in the last general election.”

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    Carolyn Classen
    Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, (since Jan. 2013).


    1. Joseph Garcia (Director of Communications & Community Impact) at Morrison Institute spoke first about their Arizona’s Voter Crisis report, published in July 2018. He said that voting participation is eroding in U.S., ranked 25th of 35 nations, behind Estonia; with Arizona 43rd of 50 states. States on the top rank have same day voting registration. In 2016 45% of Arizona’s eligible voters did not vote in the General, 2.1 M didn’t vote though registered. Voter turnout highest in 56 to 70 age group. Pima County 2018 Primary had 39.93% turnout, over state total of 33.26%. Who’s not voting: young people, poor, less educated and Latinos. Independents don’t vote in the Primary either. Many gave reasons of 28% too busy, 10% didn’t want to, 11% out of town, etc. CCEC E. D. Tom Collins then spoke. In 2018 to date in AZ, 44% Republican, 32.7% Democrats, 22% Independents have turned in their early ballots for the General, with median age at 57 years old. Negative ads intend to suppress voting, noting a recent radio ad that say voters are in “radical danger”. Historically US efforts have been to expand voting, but now dark $ is keeping people out, disenfranchising voters. Tom said it is a personal choice to vote or not, but if not, you “deny community responsibility of a US Citizen to vote”. Questions from the audience (only 12 people) were if Latinos tended to be more Republican or Democrat, has there been more engagement at the debates (by audience or viewing of videos). Tom said that many Republican candidates actually participated this General election in the debates, the best season they have ever had, plus a large audience via PBS TV. Another question was if these larger audiences were only for the competitive races? Former House Rep. Phil Lopes in audience. Tom also mentioned that the CCEC website was trying to reach/engage more voters, inform them about their candidates, have them easily check what LD they were in via their street address.


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