Voter turnout

Exercising your right to vote is a fundamental part of what makes democracy work. Voter turnout in the United States is lower than in most established democracies. This voter disparity is even larger for elections held in years without a major nationwide election. 

Dorn Policy Group, Inc. is one of Arizona’s top public affairs firms. We are advocacy professionals who strive to obtain the results our clients want. When it comes to your community, it is important to be informed and to have your voice heard. Voter turnout can have a major impact on the legislation addressing issues that you care about. Read our blog post below to learn more about voter turnout during off-year elections. 

What is Voter Turnout?

Voter turnout can help gauge political involvement and influence campaign outcomes. This metric is expressed as a percentage of a certain population who voted in a specific election. Popular ways to measure voter turnout include:

  • Voting age population turnout: a percentage of the population that is old enough to vote
  • Voting eligible population turnout: a percentage of eligible voters
  • Registered voter turnout: a percentage of registered voters

Off-Year Elections

Voter turnout regularly drops in these midterm and municipal elections compared to turnout for national elections and has done so since the 1840s. A year with no major nationwide election is referred to by Politico as an “off-year”.  These off-year elections tend to have a larger impact on day-to-day life than their larger national counterparts. Off-year elections decide which streets get repaved, how many police officers are patrolling your community, and when your trash gets collected.  

What Causes Low Voter Turnout?

Turnout varies by state, year, and election. Municipal off-year elections, as well as primary elections, tend to have lower turnout. Several factors impact voter turnout in both on and off-year elections: 

  • Voter Fatigue: When voters are asked to vote in a number of elections in a short period of time, voter fatigue can occur. It is not uncommon for voters who are asked to cast a ballot every few months to skip out on what they perceive as smaller elections.
  • Ballot Awareness: When voters are unaware of the impact that local races have on their everyday lives they are unlikely to attend local elections. The general impact of issues on municipal ballots is less commonly understood than for national elections.
  • Campaign Spend: The budget of a campaign has a direct correlation with the awareness of upcoming elections. Off-year elections tend to have lower campaign spending than higher-profile national campaigns.
  • Electoral Competitiveness: The perceived competitiveness of an election can encourage a voter to cast a ballot. According to FairVote, 69% of voters in the ten most competitive states cast a ballot in 2020, compared to the national average of 66%.

On-Years vs. Off-Years in Arizona

The disparity between on and off-year voter turnout plays a hand in Arizona elections. In Tucson, Arizona there are 260,000 registered voters. Less than 90,000 voters cast a ballot for the off-year mayoral election in 2019, while nearly half of Tucson registered voters returned a ballot in the prior year’s midterm elections.

Dorn Policy Group, Inc. Advocates for Voters

As one of the leading Arizona government relations firms, Dorn Policy Group, Inc. knows how important it is to be noticed by key elected officials and community leaders. With such a large, diverse community, it can be difficult getting your voice heard. Contact us today and learn how we can help your business find success with strong government relations. 


2020 was a unique year with the global pandemic and presidential election. As we start to see the ramifications, we need to understand where we were and where we are going in Arizona politics. This affects everyone, especially those who own a business, medical practice, or are a member of an association. 


Tom Dorn, President of Dorn Policy Group, recently spoke about the 2021 Legislative Session and what is in store that impacts the healthcare industry. 






To give you a brief recap:


Election Results

  • The House stayed Republican, despite all the efforts and money the Democrats put into campaigning.
  • The Senate remained in Republican control, despite the Democrats picking up one seat.


Potential Issues

  • With regulations like masks and limiting the number of people together, how are we going to operate at the Capitol? This brings up constitutional issues because the public is potentially being prevented from participating in the legislative process.


The Future of Arizona’s Economy

  • The state of Arizona is in a good financial place. Arizona did not ask for a bailout from the Federal Government as a result of Governor Ducey’s rainy day fund.
  • The growth in Arizona’s economy will fund the government and grow infrastructure for the healthcare industry. It opens new opportunities for healthcare providers to open medical practices here. 


How to Make A Difference 

  • To let your voice be heard, partner up with associations or organizations in your industry that have already established credibility. For example, if you are in the medical field looking to bring an issue to the Legislature, partnering with the Maricopa County Medical Society gives you a feasible chance. 


When Does the Legislative Session End in Arizona?

  • Right now, we don’t know! Arizona may opt to have a shortened Session like in 2020, where all that is discussed are the necessary items, which means the Legislature could adjourn as early as February or March. 


Partner with a Premiere Arizona Lobbying Firm

At Dorn Policy Group, we want your voice to be heard. While the government players propose bills to become a law, shouldn’t you have a say as well?


We can help you shape the future of your organization. Partner with us today!


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