May 25 • 14M

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A guide to understanding what's on the ballot in 2022

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Heading into this year’s pivotal midterm elections, it’s important to understand what each office on your ballot is responsible for and how your vote works differently in different races. Voting in every race on the ballot can be intimidating, but many of the offices buried down the ballot have just as much influence as, and sometimes more power over the issues you care about than more prestigious and well-covered races at the top of the ballot. Especially in midterm elections, when voters feel less engaged with the offices on the ballot, small margins in low turnout elections mean the difference between leaders who support LGBTQ+ equality and leaders who are hostile to LGBTQ+ communities. In Arizona, 4.5% of adults are LGBTQ and our elections are often decided by a margin of less than 1%.

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What’s on the Ballot in 2022

Federal Elections

U.S. Senate

In 2020, Senator Mark Kelly won his seat in a special election following the death of Senator John McCain. This year, voters will decide whether to reelect or replace Senator Kelly. Along with Democratic victories in Senate races in Georgia and other swing states last election, Mark Kelly was part of a shift in power in the U.S. Senate to a 50-50 Democratic majority. With the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, who serves as President of the Senate, the Democrats have been able to achieve a number of their policy priorities, but without a filibuster-proof majority, progress on many high-profile items on their agenda has stalled. This fragile balance of power has highlighted the significance of the role of the Senate in authoring federal policy and architecting the budget for the U.S. Government, as well as confirming executive appointments to regulatory bodies and the courts. Each state is afforded equal say in this chamber of Congress, so when voting in Senate elections, voters in swing states like Arizona have additional influence in determining the future of federal regulation, governmental spending, and the makeup of the Supreme Court.

U.S. House of Representatives

Unlike the Senate, each State elects a number of representatives to this chamber of congress that is proportional to its population. Arizona is divided into nine congressional districts, and all nine seats will be on the ballot this Fall. Following redistricting, your address may now fall in a different district than in 2020, which means that the choice on your ballot may involve a different incumbent than the one you voted for (or against) last election. Along with the Senate, the House of Representatives is responsible for making laws and passing budgets for the federal government. The House originates all revenue generating policy, but all bills, regardless of origin, must be agreed upon by both chambers of Congress before being sent to the President to be signed into law or vetoed.

State Elections

Governor

After two full terms, Governor Doug Ducey will leave office following the results of the 2022 elections. During the pandemic, Governor Ducey demonstrated several of the powers of his office, including the powers to declare a state of emergency and to issue executive orders, such as the stay-at-home order issued in Spring 2020. In April 2021, he deployed the Arizona National Guard to the border, demonstrating another function of the Governor’s office. The primary function of the Governor, beyond the power to declare states of emergency, to deploy the national guard, and to issue executive orders, is to execute state law. The Governor decides whether to veto or sign into law bills passed by the state legislature, and is able to convene the legislature for special sessions in order to respond to specific issues outside of the regular legislative session.

Secretary of State

The Secretary of State of Arizona has a number of responsibilities and holds a significant place in the state government as the first in line to succeed the Governor. Many diverse and important legal and political functions are overseen by the Secretary of State, including the registration of notaries and lobbyists and the administration of several key legislative processes. Perhaps most notably, the Secretary of State is responsible for all elections in Arizona and certifies their results. Due to erroneous conspiracy theories and active disinformation about the results of the 2020 election, this has become a political flashpoint and a key focus of the 2022 race for this office. The current Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is not seeking reelection, but is instead running for Governor.

Attorney General

The Attorney General oversees the State of Arizona’s law office, which represents the state government and most of its agencies. The office has five divisions: the Criminal Division, the State Government Division, the Child and Family Protection Division, the Civil Litigation Division, and the office of the Solicitor General. Across the country, we’ve seen a trend of “activist” attorney generals, who use the force of their office to influence policy and public affairs, and the current Attorney General of Arizona Mark Brnovich has intervened in a number of high profile political situations. This is an office with a high degree of real power, and is often the launching point for politicians seeking higher office.

Superintendent of Public Instruction

While none of the current officeholders for Governor, Secretary of State, or the Attorney General, will be seeking reelection in 2022, the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction will feature an incumbent on the ballot. Kathy Hoffman, as Superintendent, is responsible for administering a budget of nearly $6 billion dollars for Arizona’s public schools in accordance with state and federal law and State Board of Education policy.

Mine Inspector

The State Mine Inspector is a unique-to-Arizona elected position that is responsible for overseeing the hundreds of active mines and tens of thousands of abandoned mines in our state.

Corporation Commission

The five-seat corporation commission oversees railroads, pipelines, and public utilities in Arizona and is responsible for securities regulation and the incorporation of businesses and organizations. Two of the five seats of this hugely influential body are up for election this year.

State Supreme Court

Justices of the Supreme Court of Arizona are appointed by the Governor, but Arizona voters are invited to vote regularly whether or not to keep individual justices on the court. This year, Vice Chief Justice Ann Timmer, Justice James Beene, and Justice Bill Montgomery will all be on the ballot. A vote to retain will allow a justice to stay on the court and a vote against will remove them and clear a seat for a new appointment by the Governor. The State Supreme Court has the final say on matters of state law, but in other cases, decisions can be appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

State Legislature

In 2022, all 30 seats in the Arizona State Senate and all 60 seats in the Arizona House of Representatives will be up for election, as they are every two years. Complicating this cycle is the recent redistricting process, which redrew the map of Arizona’s 30 legislative districts. In some newly formed districts, multiple incumbents for the same office have been drawn into the same district, and by corollary to this, some districts have been left without a full slate of incumbents. Still, as in every election, voters will choose two representatives and one senator for their district (you can look up your district on the official map from the Independent Redistricting Commission). The legislature is responsible for writing laws and creating the state budget, and is perennially a major focus of activity concerning LGBTQ+ rights. For more information about the state legislature, check out our guide!

Local Elections

City Councils

If you live in Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix, or Scottsdale, you may have a city council race on your ballot this Fall. Each of these cities uses a city council - city manager structure of government, where the city council, including the mayor, appoints a city manager to act as the executive for the city. While other governing bodies often get more attention, cities are where much of the policy that affects your daily life is decided or implemented. City governments decide zoning rules and development priorities, and determine the budgets of all city departments, from police and fire to libraries and parks. In Arizona, because we lack statewide non-discrimination protections, LGBTQ+ communities rely on municipal ordinances to protect their civil liberties.

School Boards

In 2022, it’s likely that you’ll see a school board election on your ballot. In every school district, the board is responsible for local school policy and spending decisions that are more granular and personalized than what is set out by the state government. During the pandemic, school boards have become a locus for many of the most contentious political debates of the current moment, from remote learning and covid safety protocols to the quality of education available to LGBTQ+ students.

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors

Maricopa County is governed by a board of supervisors that approves a budget for the county and appoints a county manager to administer the budget and functions of the county government. In 2022, voters in Supervisorial District 2 of Maricopa County will vote to elect a member of the board to represent their district.

Maricopa County Attorney

Due to the resignation of former Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel, voters in Maricopa County will have the opportunity to elect a new County Attorney in 2022. The office is currently held by Rachel Mitchell, who was appointed by the county board of supervisors. Recently, the Maricopa County Attorney’s office has been caught up in a number of high-profile controversies, and voters will have a monumental decision before them this Fall when choosing an attorney to lead what is one of the largest prosecutorial agencies in the United States.

Maricopa and Pima Counties: Clerk of the Superior Court

In each county, the superior court is responsible for marriage licenses, passport services, and name changes and processes forms for adoptions and other family services. An elected position, the Clerk of the Superior Court is responsible for managing the operations of the office and ensuring fair access to and efficient fulfillment of its services.

Central AZ Water Conservation District Board

The Central AZ Water Conservation District Board administers the Central Arizona Project and is responsible for supplying Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal counties with water. The fifteen-member board has ten members representing Maricopa, four representing Pima, and one representing Pinal county. In 2022, Maricopa voters will elect five of their ten board members.

Election Dates and Deadlines

Primary Elections: August 2

  • July 5 | Last Day to Register to Vote

  • July 6 | Ballots mailed and early voting begins

  • July 22 | Last day to request a ballot-by-mail

General Election: November 8

  • October 11 | Last Day to Register to Vote

  • October 12 | Ballots mailed and early voting begins

  • October 28 | Last day to request a ballot-by-mail

Are you registered to vote? Sign up today on eqaz.vote and visit our voter guide for more information about the upcoming elections.