Click for full episode KTAR.com
PHOENIX – The largest group of voters in Maricopa County is officially “other,” surpassing Republicans by 76 registrations, according to election officials.
As primaries leading up to the November general election move closer, others numbered 888,168 in Arizona’s largest county. Republicans followed at 888,092, with Democrats at 788,428 and Libertarians at 22,425, according to the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office.
Others is a mish-mash of independents, no party preference and parties that aren’t officially recognized.
“It’s been a pretty steady trend [since after the November 2020 election], especially with respect to new registrants, but there have been party switches, too,” Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday.
In February, 1,154 Republicans changed their political affiliation to other; while 1,331 Democrats did the same.
Maricopa County made headlines across the country with a protracted GOP-led Arizona Senate audit of the 2020 presidential election, fueled by claims of voter fraud after Joe Biden won the state over then-President Donald Trump.
The review, which began in April 2021 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, lasted four months.
During that time, machines and other equipment were examined and ballots were recounted by hand. Volunteers supplied the manpower, all of it overseen by a contractor, Cyber Ninjas, which had never before handled an election audit.
“In the immediate aftermath of the November 2020 and into the immediate beginning of 2021, more people were leaving the Republican Party,” Richer, a Republican himself, said.
“But it’s been pretty equal since.”
He added the difference between GOP registrants and Democratic registrants, is “right around 100,000, which is exactly where it was in November 2020.”
Richer said his office didn’t have data as to what was driving the changes.
“This isn’t a situation where before you take this medication you have to call your doctor – before you switch parties you have to call your local county recorder,” he said.
“I wish that were the case in many ways. But I read the national news and I see the trends and we’ve always had a streak of independence here in Arizona.”
Richer also said he believes the coming election would be “great. I think they’re going to be the best elections we’ve ever had.”