Election year 2020 will go down as one of contentious campaigns, mail ballot disputes, deadline challenges and more, all framed by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, perhaps the friction has sparked interest, as voter registration rolls are growing.
As of 11 a.m. on Oct. 16, the Cochise County Recorder’s Office reported 81,600 people had registered to vote with an additional 500-700 registrations still being processed. The recorder’s office details 32,782 voters registered as Republicans; 21,415 are registered as Democrats; and 27,403 are registered as independent and Libertarian voters, the majority of those being independent voters.
In comparison to the state of Arizona, Cochise County voters are 40.2% Republican, while the state is 36.7% Republican. Democrats make up 26.2% of county voters and 37.3% of state voters. Independents are 33.6% of county voters and 26.0% of state voters.
As of Oct. 15, 549,552 ballots had already been returned around the state, according to Data Orbital, which collects data from county recorders statewide. Of these, 32.6% or 178,968 are from Republicans, 47.3% (259,663) are from Democrats and 20.2% (110,920) are from Independents.
The number of people registered to vote in the county is up from the August primary election. For the primary election, 76,795 were registered to vote. County records indicate that 30,680 registered as Republicans, 20,416 as Democrats and 25,699 people registered as independents. The County Recorder’s Office counted 28,523 ballots cast in the primary, a voter turnout rate of 37.14%.
On Oct. 5, United States District Court Judge Steven P. Logan extended the voter registration from midnight of Oct. 5 to midnight of Oct. 23. However, the 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the extended deadline and voter registration concluded on Oct. 15.
Cochise County voters took advantage of the extension. Between Oct. 6 and 15, a total of 1,396 people registered to vote. The daily average for registering new voters during the extension was just less than 140 voters a day over the 10-day period, with more than 400 people registering in the last two days.
The overall number of registered voters in the 2020 general election is higher than it was in the 2016 general election, when 75,157 people were registered to vote.
A total of 50,601 ballots were cast.
Data regarding Cochise County statistics such as the total number of mail-in ballots and the total number of ballots cast will be made available by the County Recorder’s Office as soon as possible after the polls close for the Nov. 3 election.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the number of votes cast and the voter turnout rate for Cochise County in the 2020 primary.