Arizona will hold its Presidential Preference Election (PPE) on March 17, 2020. The voter registration deadline for this election is Feb 18. The Republican Party has determined that President Trump will be their candidate and it will not participate in this election. There is a precedent for this as both the Democratic and the Republican Parties have chosen to support sitting presidents for reelection. The Green and Libertarian Parties have not filed to participate in the PPE in Arizona. As a result, only Democrats will be selecting their presidential candidate in this 2020 Arizona election. 

Some years ago, Arizona opened its local, state and congressional candidate primaries to Independents allowing them to vote a ballot from the political party of their choice. This has led to confusion about who can vote in the March election. The presidential candidate selection election process is determined by a combination of state laws and party rules and varies from state to state. In Arizona, only voters registered with a participating political party can vote in the PPE. When a voter selects a candidate on the ballot, he or she is actually electing a group of delegates who are legally bound to support the specified candidate at the party’s national convention. Arizona is a winner takes all state, meaning that only the delegates supporting the candidate with the most votes will go to the convention. 

Elected delegates are joined by automatic delegates (“super delegates”) at the party convention. Super delegates are determined by party rules and are generally officers of the party and long-time political activists. Elected delegates are legally bound to vote for their designated candidate in the first round of voting at the national convention. If no candidate gets the majority of votes in the first round, candidates may release their delegates and allow them to vote for a different candidate of their choice. Multiple rounds of voting may occur until one candidate gets a majority of the votes. 

Unlike elected delegates, super delegates are not legally bound to support a specific candidate. In the 2016 election the Democratic Party super delegates were accused of predetermining support for Hillary Clinton. In response the Democratic National Committee decided this year that super delegates will not vote in the first round but will vote in subsequent rounds if no candidate gets the majority of votes initially. 

Unregistered and Independent voters who wish to participate in an Arizona PPE must register or update their voter registration to indicate a party preference. Voter registration forms can be found at local libraries and online at