/ Modified feb 17, 2024 8:38 a.m.

Arizona voters prepare for Presidential Preference Election: What you need to know

Here are some frequently asked questions that voters have for the presidential preference election.

Vote here sign near Armory Park Center Two "Vote Here" signs sit outside the Armory Park Center on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022 in downtown Tucson.
Paola Rodriguez/Arizona Public Media

Arizona voters have until Tuesday, Feb. 20 to register to vote in the Presidential Preference Election. That election will allow voters who are registered as Republicans or Democrats to let their parties know who they prefer as their presidential candidate.

Counties will begin sending ballots as soon as next week. The presidential preference election is open only to voters who are registered as Democrats or Republicans. That is different from the primary election where all registered voters can cast a ballot. That election will happen on July 30.

As voters begin to prepare for this election season, here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the presidential preference election.

Q: When is the presidential preference election?

A: March 19, 2024.

Q: What are the deadlines for the presidential preference election?

A: February 20th is the voter registration deadline. Early voting begins February 21st. Voters have until March 15th to vote early in-person or March 12th to mail-in early ballots. The last day to request a ballot by mail is March 8th.

Q: Can anyone participate in Arizona’s presidential preference election?

A: No. The PPE is only open to voters who are registered as Democrats or Republicans. Independents, other party affiliations or those who have not chosen a party cannot vote in the March 19 election. Voters can check their party registration at the Arizona Voter Information Portal.

Voters’ ballots will contain one race for their party’s presidential nominee.

Q: Why do only Democrats and Republicans vote in presidential preference elections?

A: The presidential preference election is not considered a primary election thus it does not fall under Arizona’s open primary law. That law says unaffiliate/independent voters may vote in primary elections.

Q: How are presidential preference elections different from primary elections?

A: In 1999, the Arizona Attorney General’s office said, “unlike a primary election, the presidential preference election does not determine which candidate is placed on the general election ballot, nor do all parties that will have candidates on the general election ballot participate in Arizona's presidential preference election."

The purpose of the presidential preference election is to inform state parties of who their voters would like to see on the ballot.

Q: Are voters allowed to change their political affiliation on their voter registration so they can vote in the PPE?

A: Yes. Voters are allowed to change their political affiliation, so long as it is done by the registration deadline on Feb. 20 at 11:59 p.m. Head to arizona.vote to change registration statuses.

Q: What happens afterwards?

A: State parties will then hold state conventions to determine delegates for the party’s national convention. Arizona’s delegate will then be considered alongside other states’ nominees. The party’s official Presidential candidate will then be selected at the national convention and be placed on the November general election ballot.

Q: Where can I find a list of the candidates on the presidential preference ballot?

A: Visit the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commision’s website for the list of candidates who have filed to run this election. Their website also contains crucial deadlines, guides, and videos if more information is needed. Voters will only be able to select a candidate in their party’s race.

If you have any other questions or concerns about the 2024 election in Arizona, please let us know. We can be reached at newsroom@azpm.org.

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