By delaying primaries, pushing back conventions, and putting a halt on many traditional campaign activities, the Coronavirus may have distracted us a bit from the 2020 Election. But ready or not, we’re in full campaign season from now until November.
Since I’ve been old enough to vote, I haven’t made it through a single even-numbered year without being told I was about to participate in “the most important election of our lifetime.” I’m not a fan of that worn-out cliché, but it’s hard to phrase the reality of the 2020 election any other way: it really does have the potential to be the most impactful election we’ve seen in a generation.
There are many reasons this election holds so much weight. The Arizona legislature, currently held by a very slim Republican majority, is poised to change leadership in at least one chamber. A split legislature will have significant implications for Farm Bureau’s priority policies, including securing agriculture’s access to water and encouraging agriculture-friendly tax policy. The economic disruptions caused by COVID-19 are predicted to lead to significant state budget deficits, and the next legislature will decide how agency budgets, government services, and the State’s rainy-day fund are adjusted to fill some significant financial holes.
But I’d argue that the biggest impact of this election won’t actually be realized until the next one. That’s because it’s once again time for political redistricting. According to the Arizona Constitution, in each year after a U.S. Census, the state must establish a commission to adjust the legislative district map to reflect the new population statistics. This independent redistricting commission is chosen in two steps. First, the state Commission on Appellate Court Appointments reviews all applicants and creates a list of 25 candidates – ten Democrats, ten Republicans, and five Independents. From that list, it’s the legislative leaders of each party who pick two Democrats and two Republicans to sit on the commission. That means that when you vote this year, you’re selecting the people who will decide who will be responsible for re-drawing Arizona’s legislative maps for the next 10 years.
In short, this election literally has the potential to shape what Arizona politics will look like for years to come.
As the election draws near, Arizona Farm Bureau is committed to providing timely, helpful, and insightful resources to our members. We’re doing all we can to make it easy for you to identify and support the candidates who will protect agricultural livelihoods and lifestyles. Our website is continuously updated with top news and information to keep you up-to-date on political current events. On our 2020 Election Resources webpage, you can find candidate surveys, voter registration information, and more. Our bi-weekly “While You Were Working” newsletter will give you all the latest policy news from the State Capitol and beyond. We’re extremely excited to announce a new tool made possible by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the iFarmiVote 2020 Election Toolkit. All in one convenient location at www.fb.org/vote, you can see whether you’re registered to vote, locate your official polling place, and access information about the candidates and races in your district.
Finally, from now until September 30, 2020, all contributions to AgPAC, Arizona Agriculture’s political action committee, will be doubled through a matching contribution to the Educational Farming Company. You can contribute to a strong political future for agriculture by supporting today’s candidates and educating tomorrow’s voters, all in one contribution. Go to www.azfb.org/agPAC to contribute today.
After all, it is the most important election of your lifetime… at least until the next one.