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12:34 PM Mon, Nov. 19th

Voters must commit to party: Monday is deadline to register for Presidential Preference Election

PRESCOTT - Prescott resident Vivian Logan changed her voter registration from non-partisan to Republican so she could vote in the Feb. 5 Presidential Preference Election.

Logan said she changed her registration because "there is a candidate I want to back, so I had to reregister as a Republican."

Monday, Jan. 7, is the deadline to register to vote in the Presidential Preference Election.

With only two political parties on the "Super Tuesday" ballot, only voters registered as Democrats or Republicans will be able to vote.

Unlike other primary elections, the Presidential Preference Election is not an open election in which voters registered as Independent or other non-partisan parties can request a Democratic or Republican ballot.

Chino Valley resident Kathy Lopez is active in local politics. She said allowing non-partisan voters to vote in September primary elections but not in the Presidential Preference Election was a compromise by a "contentious" state legislature about six years ago.

Lopez said that because non-partisan voters could reregister for the Presidential Preference Election, "they are not denied the right to vote."

She said that when Independents and other non-partisan voters reregister for the Presidential Preference, "they have to look at the parties and the candidates; they have to study the candidates."

Lopez said, "The party argument that its members should be able to choose their candidate is valid, but the president represents everyone."

Non-partisan voters are not stuck with their Presidential Preference voter registration, either. After the election, they can reregister again - as an Independent, or a member of the Libertarian, Green, Humanist or other non-partisan party.

Logan said, "This is important. I don't think people know they won't be able to vote."

Yavapai County Elections Director Lynn Constabile said voters may change their party affiliation at the Election Department, or pick up forms at post offices, libraries, chambers of commerce or online. She said anyone wanting to change their registration online should follow the links on the county's website at www.co.yavapai.az.us.

The county voter registration office is in the County Administration Services Building, 1015 Fair Street in Prescott.