Takeaways from Maricopa County: Sometimes you just have to ask

Arizona’s Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, has a population of over 4 million people, and approximately 119,000 of those residents are 16 and 17 years old. If they don’t already know it, we have some good news for them.

Any otherwise eligible 16- or 17-year-old Arizonan who will be 18 by November 3, 2020 can register to vote now and vote in the November 2020 election.

Looking around the Maricopa County Registrar’s website for their voter registration materials, we found a little glitch that prevented young people from checking their voter registration status. Under the section “Am I Registered to Vote,” the years of the date of birth didn’t go above 2000. This means that any Maricopa County residents born in 2001 or 2002, the vast majority of whom can register to vote, wouldn’t be able to check their status on the official county website.  

Luckily, sometimes all it takes is a quick ask. Monday morning, we picked up the phone and also emailed the Maricopa County Registrar's office to ask if they knew about the issue and if they were planning to fix it.  Before noon, the problem was solved.

What does that mean for you? If you live in Arizona and were born on or before November 3, 2002, you can register to vote now and confirm your registration online. The rest of us can spread the word that young people do not need to wait until they turn 18 to register to vote for the 2020 general election. Better yet, if you know any 16- and 17-year-olds in Arizona, ask them if they’re registered to vote!

Arizonans can register to vote online by clicking here. To plan a voter registration drive in Maricopa County, check out some of the Registrar’s great materials.

A study by Pew Charitable Trusts found that 62% of survey respondents were never asked to register. If you’re wondering why youth voter turnout is so low, that’s one factor that might give you a clue. And better yet, it’s such an easy statistic to improve by taking action as individuals.

Take our word for it, sometimes you just have to ask.