Voter FAQs - Registering to Vote
Who can register to vote?
Any United States citizen, who is a resident of the State of Arizona and Pima County who will be 18 years of age on or before the next state general election can register to vote. The “state general election” is the election that occurs in November of an even numbered year.
How do I determine if I am a “resident” of the State of Arizona or of Pima County?
Arizona statute defines a “resident” as a person who is physically present in the location with the intent to remain. So if you are physically present in Arizona or Pima County and you intend to remain here, you meet the “resident” requirement.
I am 17 years old now but will be 18 before the next state general election. Can I complete a voter registration form now and will I then be able to sign petitions?
You may complete the voter registration form now, but you may not sign any petition or vote in any election until you reach your 18th birthday. By completing the voter registration form now, you are in essence “pre-registering” but you do not become an eligible voter until you have reached your 18th birthday. Only eligible voters may sign petitions or vote in an election.
I am a college student from out of state and I want to establish my residency here in order to qualify for in-state tuition. Can I do that by registering to vote?
If you meet the residency definition above, you may register to vote. There is no separate residency requirement applied to college students for determining eligibility to vote. Whether or not that qualifies you for in-state tuition rates is a determination that only the University or College can make. Please note that if you are attending school here using a scholarship or grant from your home state, you should check with that scholarship authority before you register to vote here as the act of registering here could adversely affect your scholarship.
How long do I need to be a “resident” of Arizona before I can register to vote?
You can register immediately upon becoming a resident. There is no waiting period for completing a registration form. However, to be eligible to vote you must be a resident for at least 29 days prior to the election.
What do I need to do in order to become a registered voter?
You need to complete the Arizona voter registration form and mail or deliver that completed form to the Recorder’s Office. The same registration form is used throughout Arizona. If you are registering for the first time in this county, you will also need to establish your United State’s citizenship at the time you submit the voter registration form.
Where can I get an Arizona Voter Registration form?
In Pima County, we have distributed registration forms throughout the county. The forms are available at the Recorder’s Offices, Motor Vehicle Division offices, all libraries, post office branches, city and town halls, political party headquarters and in other government buildings. Forms are also available at all public assistance offices. For a list of locations, you can visit our website, www.recorder.pima.gov and select the link for registering to vote then the link for “locations where forms are available.” You can also call our office at 724-4330 and select the choice 3 for the locations where forms are available. You can also print out a registration form from our website.
Can I register to vote online?
Yes. Arizona is one of only a handful of states in the country that allow online voter registration. You can register online at the Motor Vehicle Division website, www.servicearizona.com. In order to use that site, you must have an Arizona driver’s license or MVD issued identification card that was issued after October 1, 1996.
A person on the street asked me to sign a petition and offered to help me register to vote. Is that valid?
Yes, but the Recorder’s Office does not recommend that you register to vote in that manner. Under Arizona law, the petition gathering process is unregulated and does not fall under the authority of the Recorder’s Office. In completing a voter registration form you are providing very sensitive information about your identity to this stranger and then hoping that the person sends the form to the Recorder’s Office. With the high incidence of identity theft in Arizona, the safest practice is for you to complete the form and send it to the Recorder’s Office yourself or to register online at the MVD website.
There are several websites that offer online voter registration. Can I use one of those sites to complete a registration form?
The Recorder’s Office does not recommend any website other than the Motor Vehicle Division website, www.servicearizona.com. No other website offers truly online registration. What the other sites do is have you “complete” a form without your signature. The site then mails that completed form to you for your signature and you must then mail it in to the Recorder’s office. You are not registered to vote until you sign the form. With the MVD website, you complete the information online and the MVD attaches the signature from your driver’s license to the registration form. The MVD then sends the form to our office the next business day.
Can I register to vote here using a voter registration form from another state?
No. You must register using the Arizona registration form or the national voter registration form distributed by the United States government. Forms from other states are not valid in Arizona.
Am I required to select a political party in order to complete the registration form?
No. You can choose to select a political party affiliation if you wish, or you can decide to not be affiliated with any political party. The choice is yours to make and does not impact the validity of your registration form. If you leave the party affiliation choice blank, you will be entered into the registration roll with a notation of “party not designated” or PND.
How do I establish my United State’s citizenship?
Arizona law is very specific on what can be accepted to establish citizenship for voter registration purposes. If you have an Arizona driver’s license or MVD issued identification card that was issued after October 1, 1996, the number from that license or identification card is all you need. Include that information in box 9 on your voter registration form.
You may also provide a photocopy of your birth certificate, your United States passport, or your Certificate of Naturalization. If you are a naturalized citizen, you can provide the alien registration number from your certificate of naturalization. You can also present these documents in person at the Recorder’s office.
If you are Native American, you can provide your Bureau of Indian Affairs card number, tribal enrollment number or tribal treaty card number.
The following documents are not acceptable to establish citizenship: A voter registration card from anywhere and a driver’s license issued by any state other than Arizona.
Do I need to complete the entire registration form or are some parts optional?
It is preferable that you complete the entire registration form, particularly if you have a fairly common name or if you are a twin with a similar name to your sibling. Under Arizona law, you must provide your name, residence address, date of birth, check the boxes on the form indicating that you are a citizen and at least 18 years of age and sign the form. If you are registering for the first time in Pima County, you must also provide proof of citizenship as set forth above. The remaining portions of the form are optional.
Why do you request optional items on the voter registration form?
The form is defined in Arizona statute. However, the optional information is often necessary to distinguish between two voters with similar names or to confirm your identity when we are speaking with you on the phone.
Is the voter registration record a public record?
Yes and no. Portions of the voter registration form are public record while other portions are deemed confidential by statute. The portion that is public record is your name, residence address, mailing address, phone number, year of birth, occupation and party affiliation. However, Arizona law restricts this public information by prohibiting its use for any commercial purpose. This information may only be used for election or political activity.
I have an unlisted phone number. Do I have to provide that information on the voter registration form?
No. The Recorder’s Office would prefer to have a phone number in order to contact you if there are issues concerning your registration or your early ballot. If you have an unlisted phone number and you are willing to provide that number to the Recorder’s Office for our internal use, simply write the word “unlisted” next to the phone number and we will not disclose that number to anyone else.
I have received several unwanted phone calls from candidates and organizations supporting ballot measures. How can I prevent them from getting my phone number?
Under Arizona law, the phone number on a voter registration form is a matter of public record unless you notify us that it should be treated the same as an unlisted phone number. If you are completing a new voter registration form, simply make note that the phone number is unlisted and it will not be provided to anyone. If you have already completed a voter registration form and do not want your phone number provided to anyone, please call our office (724-4330) and inform one of our operators that you want access to your phone number restricted. The Recorder’s Office will then remove the phone number from the public portion of our records.
Please note that we are mandated by law to provide the political parties with a copy of our database at least 4 times each year. If you have already provided your phone number to us, there is a good chance that it has already been provided to the political parties and they will not be notified of the removal of the phone until the next listing is given to them.
If I register to vote does that mean that I can be called for jury duty?
Yes. However, in Arizona only half of the prospective jurors are pulled from the voter registration database. The other half are pulled from the Motor Vehicle Division database. So if you have an Arizona driver’s license or identification card, you are already in the prospective jury pool.
A person gathering petition signatures told me that even though I am not yet a United States citizen, I can complete the voter registration form now so that I will be registered automatically upon getting my citizenship. Is this correct?
No. Some people gathering petition signatures are volunteers and some are paid. Those that are paid are generally getting paid per signature or completed voter registration form. These people do not work for the Recorder’s Office or any government entity and are not subject to regulation. It is therefore not uncommon for them to be less than honest in getting people to register to vote. If you have not yet obtained your citizenship, you may NOT complete a voter registration form. Completing the form prior to obtaining citizenship is a criminal offense that can lead to your prosecution and may significantly impact your ability to obtain citizenship. It is therefore imperative that you wait until after you have fully completed the naturalization process to complete a voter registration form. Please remember that the Recorder’s Office does not recommend that you register to vote by giving a stranger your voter registration form. Once you have received your citizenship you should register directly with the Recorder’s Office or through the MVD website. Staff of the Recorder’s Office is usually present after every Naturalization Ceremony that occurs in Tucson to assist new citizens in registering to vote.
Where can I obtain bulk quantities of voter registration forms in order to conduct a voter registration drive?
Quantities of voter registration forms are only available from the Recorder’s Office main office location at 115 N. Church Avenue. You will be required to complete an identification form in order to obtain a quantity of forms.
I have a friend who is disabled and unable to complete a voter registration form. Can I assist them in completing the form?
Yes. Anyone can assist anyone else in completing the form. The voter must sign the form unless they cannot sign or make a mark due to a disability. If that applies, the person assisting must sign the form where indicated in box 24 and you should provide the voter’s phone number so that we can confirm their information. You should also clearly indicate on the registration form that the voter is not able to sign the form due to a disability.
Why is the voter registration form in both English and Spanish?
Federal law mandates that jurisdictions with a sufficiently large population of persons speaking a language other than English must provide voter and election information in those other languages. Under that federal law, all Arizona election materials including voter registration forms must be provided in English and Spanish. Several counties in Arizona are also required to provide voter and election information in one or more other languages, including various Native American languages. Pima County is required to provide information in both the Tohono O’odham language and the Pascua Yaqui language.
The voter registration form is in two pages and the instructions state that I should send in only the first page. What do I do with the second page?
The second page is your receipt showing that you completed the registration form. You should keep that receipt as proof that you have completed your registration form until you receive confirmation of registration from the Recorder’s office.
How do I know that the Recorder’s Office received my voter registration form?
Under Arizona law, the Recorder’s Office is required to send you a confirmation of voter registration within 30 days of the receipt of your form. In Pima County, the confirmation is in the form of a voter identification card. Once you receive the card, please review it to make certain there are no errors in the spelling of your name, your address or your political party affiliation. If you do not receive that confirmation card within that time period, you should contact the Recorder’s Office at 724-4330 to check the status of your registration.
Will I be notified if there is a problem with my registration form?
Yes. If the form you submit is missing information that prevents your registration, you will be notified by a letter sent to the address on the registration form. That letter is sent within ten days or less from our receipt of your form. The letter will specify what the problem with your registration form is and will include a new registration form or other instructions on how to correct the situation.
Once I register to vote am I required to submit a new registration form for each election?
No. Once you have submitted a valid registration form, you are only required to submit a new registration form if you change your residence address, change your name or wish to change your political party affiliation.
Can my voter registration be cancelled?
Yes. You can submit a written request to cancel your registration at any time. If you are convicted of a felony or are found by the superior court to be mentally incapacitated, your registration will be cancelled. If you move your residence and do not update your voter registration through two federal election cycles, your registration will also be cancelled. If you are summoned to jury duty and notify the court that you cannot serve because you are a convicted felon or not a citizen, your voter registration will be cancelled, even if you are only lying just to get out of jury duty.
I am registered to vote in another Arizona county and I provided my proof of citizenship there. If I register in Pima County do I need to establish citizenship again?
Yes. Whenever you change your registration from one county to another, you must re-establish your citizenship at the time of registering in the new county. If you were previously registered in Pima County but your registration was cancelled here for any reason, you must re-establish citizenship when registering in Pima County again.
Do I have to establish citizenship every time I submit a voter registration form in Pima County?
No. After you have established citizenship in this county once, you are not required to establish it again unless your registration was cancelled for any reason. You may submit a registration form to change your name, address or political party affiliation without again establishing citizenship.
I do not have any documentation to establish my citizenship. Can I register to vote anyway?
No. While Arizona is one of only a few states that mandate proof of citizenship at the time of registration, that mandate has been upheld by the courts. The mandate was created by a citizen’s initiative that appeared on the 2004 General Election ballot. The state therefore has no authority to waive the citizenship requirement for any voter. The documents that may be used to establish citizenship were specified in the initiative and therefore we have no authority to allow any other documentation to establish citizenship,
Is there a deadline for registering to vote?
You can submit a voter registration form at any time. In order to be eligible to vote in an election, you must have completed and submitted that voter registration form by midnight on the 29th day prior to election day. That deadline always falls on a Monday.
I am a registered voter. Am I eligible to vote in every election?
No. Many elections that occur in Pima County are for specific jurisdictions such as school districts and cities and towns. For these elections your eligibility to vote is determined by your residence address. If your residence address is within the territorial limits of the jurisdiction, you will be eligible to vote. If it is outside the territorial boundaries of the jurisdiction, you will not be eligible. Please note that whether or not you are eligible is NOT determined based on the post office designator for your address. In other words, although many addresses in Pima County list “Tucson” as the postal city designator, the addresses are outside the jurisdictional boundaries of the City of Tucson. You may therefore not be eligible to vote in City of Tucson elections.
Are there only two elections (a Primary and General Election) every two years?
No, there are four election cycles every calendar year. There may or may not be an election held during each of the election cycles in Pima County. The standard election dates are the second Tuesday in March, the third Tuesday in May, the tenth Tuesday before the first Tuesday following a Monday in November (usually late August); and the first Tuesday following a Monday in November.
The statewide elections occur in August and November of even numbered years. Most city and town elections for council and/or mayor will occur as part of the statewide elections. Elections for City of Tucson council and/or mayor occur in the August and November election cycles in odd numbered years. In the same year as a Presidential Election a fifth election will occur for the Presidential Preference Election. That election typically occurs in February of that year but the date is subject to change.
I own property in Pima County but I live in Phoenix. Am I eligible to vote in Pima County elections?
Generally no. In order to vote in a county, you must be a resident of that county and ownership of the property is not determinative of residency. The exception to this rule is for certain special taxing district (water district, health district, etc) bond elections. If you live in one of those districts, you may be eligible to vote on a bond matter.
When I register to vote will you notify me of my polling place?
No. The Recorder’s Office does not determine the polling place for any election. Those assignments are made by the Pima County Elections Department which is a separate department from the Recorder’s Office. The polling places are not assigned until just prior to an election and are often determined by the jurisdiction involved in the election. Pima County does not own any
polling place. Therefore your polling place can change from election to election. Prior to every election you should receive a sample ballot from the Elections Department and that should list your polling place for the election. If you do not receive a sample ballot, you can contact the Pima County Recorder’s Office at 724-4330 or go to our website and click on the link for “Polling/Voter Info” to find your polling place and the districts that you are assigned to.
I have heard rumors that there are thousands of non-citizens registered to vote in Pima County. Is this true?
No. The Pima County Voter Registration database links to the Arizona statewide voter registration database, the Motor Vehicle Division database and the Social Security Administration database. Voter information is frequently exchanged between these databases to confirm citizenship as well as address other identification information. Since 2005 every new voter has been required to submit proof of citizenship at the time of registering to vote. If no proof is provided, the voter registration form is rejected. Through all these checks, not one non-citizen had been located in the Pima County voter database.
I have heard rumors that there are thousands of non-existent or dead voters in Pima County. Is this true?
No. As set forth above, the Pima County Voter Registration database is frequently compared to other government databases to confirm identity. Any problems that are located in these comparisons are immediately resolved. The Recorder’s Office uses several sources to remove deceased voters from the registration database including monthly reports from the Department of Health Services, receipt of death certificates, paid obituaries and news stories from all newspapers in Pima County.
One of my relatives died. What information can I provide to have their registration cancelled?
If you are reporting the death of another voter, we need some sort of official documentation of that death. A copy of the death certificate or a letter signed by the court appointed personal representative of the estate are sufficient. For security reasons, we will not accept a phone call or simple letter.
I have received mail for someone who no longer lives at my address. What should I do with the mail and why is it being sent to me?
State law requires that we test each voter’s address at least once every two years. It is the policy of the Pima County Recorder’s Office to test the addresses more often. Once every four years every voter in Pima County will be mailed a new identification card. Twice each year our database will be compared to the Postal Service National Change of Address database. Under federal law, we are required to send correspondence to a person to determine if they have moved. If that correspondence is returned, we are required to make a separate second mailing to confirm that they have moved. If you receive mail from our office addressed to someone who has moved, please make note of that on the envelope and return it to our office. This is one of the main ways that we are able to keep the registration roll up to date. If you simply throw out the mail, we are not able to remove that voter from the roll.
I have received a request from your office to update my signature. I have not moved or made any other changes in my registration. Why was this letter sent?
Most election activities require a comparison of a signature to the signature on a voter registration form. If you sign a petition, vote early or vote by provisional ballot, we are required to verify your identity by comparing the signature with the signature on your voter registration form. Although you may not realize it, it is very common for a person’s signature to change over time. If we had difficulty in making the signature comparison or if the signature we have on file for you is more than 10 years old, we will send you a letter asking you to update your signature. This ensures that we have a more current signature on file to make the comparison against.
If I register to vote without designating one of the major political parties, can I vote in the primary election?
Yes. In general, Arizona primary elections are “open” primaries. That means that you do not have to be a member of that political party in order to vote in the election. There are limitations. If you register as a member of one party with ballot status, you may not vote in a different party’s primary election. As a non-affiliated voter, you must pick only one party ballot to vote in the primary. In other words, you cannot vote the Democratic party primary ballot for Governor and the Republican Party primary ballot for Secretary of State. You must designate which one party ballot you wish to vote and once you make that selection, you cannot change your mind for that one election.
The Presidential Preference Election is a closed election. You must be registered as a member of a political party participating in the PPE in order to vote in that election.
How do I change my political party affiliation?
In order to change your party affiliation, you must complete a new voter registration form.
Is there a limitation on when I can change my political party affiliation?
You can change your political party affiliation at any time. However, if you complete a voter registration form less than 29 days prior to a primary election, that party change will not go into effect until after the election is over. In other words, you must change your affiliation prior to the voter registration cutoff date or the change will not be effective for the next election.
I receive all of my mail at my business office. Can I use that office to register to vote?
You may use that address as a mailing address in box 7 of the voter registration form, but you may not use it as a residence address unless you actually reside at the office location. In order to validly register to vote, you must list your actual residence address on the form. You can have your mail sent to any mailing address you wish, but you must list your actual residence address.
I do not have a residence address. Can I still register to vote?
Yes. Several people may fall into this category. Under Arizona law, if you do not have a regular residence address, you can register to vote by providing a physical description of the place where you regularly sleep (you can use the map portion of the voter registration form), you can use the physical address of a homeless shelter where you regularly stay, you may use General Delivery with the zip code of the location where your regularly pick up your mail, or you may use the court house address of 115 N. Church Avenue. If you use any of these alternative address locations, you must also provide a mailing address where you can actually receive mail.
A significant portion of the Tohono O’odham Nation in Pima County does not have street names or addresses. If you reside in these areas, you should write the village and district names as your residence address.
I need to update my voter registration residence address. Can I call the Recorder’s Office to make that change?
We are prohibited from making a residence address change over the phone. Your residence address is one of the key factors to determine your voter eligibility. The candidates that represent you are determined by your residence address. Due to the significant impact a residence address change has on your voter registration, a change to that address can only be made in writing accompanied by your signature. We will compare the signature on the change request with the signature we have on your prior voter registration record to confirm your identity before we enter the change in the computer system.
In order to change your residential address, you can send a letter to the Recorder’s Office requesting the change, complete a postal service notice of change of address card, sign it and mail it to the Recorder’s Office or complete a new voter registration form. Please note that if your family has moved and you are submitting a letter or the post office notice of change of address card, all voters who have moved from the address must sign the card.
I used to receive my mail at a post office box, but I no longer have that PO Box. Can I call the Recorder’s Office to remove the mailing address from my voter registration record?
Yes. When you contact our office, the staff member will ask you a few questions to make sure you are the voter prior to removing your post office box number as your mailing address. If you acquired a new post office box number, you will have to complete a new voter registration form with this new number. Please note, if other members of your household were using this post office number they will have to follow this procedure. Under federal and state law, the Recorder’s Office is required to test a voter’s mailing address at least once every two years. The mailing address is the key method that is used to determine if a voter has moved.
I received my voter notification card and the information on the card is incorrect. How can I get this corrected?
If the information on your voter notification card is incorrect, please call the voter registration office at 724-4330. A staff member will be able to review your voter registration form to determine the cause of the error. If the error was a data entry error, it will be corrected immediately and a new card will be sent to you with the next mailing. If the information was properly entered from the voter registration form, but the form was filled out incorrectly, you may be required to complete a new voter registration form.