The master cheat sheet: Get help figuring out your ballot
We've written four cheat sheets that you might have forgotten.
At this point in election season, you’re probably muting your TV, blocking new contacts on your phone and side-eyeing all the election signs on your commute.
We’ve got less than three weeks to go until Election Day, and then probably a few days (maybe weeks?) until we have final results.
But luckily, you can do your part to put the 2022 election to rest by voting now, either by mail or at any early voting site.
We know it can be intimidating and overwhelming to fill out all those races, especially with this year’s extra long ballot.
To help you sort through it all, we’ve created a series of cheat sheets over the past couple months that break down the races and issues you’ll see.
In case you missed them, or forgot you read them before your ballot arrived, we’re putting all of our cheat sheets together in one place — a cheat sheet to cheat sheets, if you will.
If you’re voting by mail, pull up a chair at your kitchen table and get ready to fill in some bubbles. We’ll walk you through this.
If you’re voting in person, whether early or on Election Day, we highly recommend looking up a sample ballot in advance and filling that out before you leave the house. This tool from Ballotpedia seems to work well for sample ballots in Arizona.
Perhaps the most useful starting point is our cheat sheet to down-ballot races because it offers resources so you can do your own research on candidates. This cheat sheet includes general information on where to find polling places and sample ballots, how to generally background a candidate or issue, which organizations have general voter information and more.
The down-ballot cheat sheet provides links to learn more about the candidates you’ve never heard of: the justices of the peace, the constables, the water board candidates. If you get to a place in your ballot where you start thinking, “who is that and why am I electing them,” that’s a great time to turn to this cheat sheet.
This year’s ballot has ten statewide initiatives, some of which are straightforward, some of which are not. That’s a lot of ballot measures! And your local ballot, depending on where you live, might have some additional local propositions.
Our cheat sheet to the 10 statewide measures includes what the law would do (in more detail than the question on the ballot itself) as well as a short list of who is supporting and opposing each measure and why.
You’ll want to spend some time digesting what these measures would do: They include substantive policies, and it is incredibly difficult for lawmakers to change anything approved at the ballot because of the Voter Protection Act.
Those two cheat sheets apply, in some way or another, to everyone voting in Arizona.
We also put together rundowns of the competitive legislative and congressional districts. Most legislative and congressional districts are so lopsided that the outcome is all but assured.
But if you live in one of the state’s competitive legislative or competitive districts, your vote really matters. Our cheat sheet will give you a feel for the candidates and the state of the races. And even if you don’t live in a competitive district, these are the races you’ll want to keep an eye on come election night.
This is our cheat sheet on the five legislative districts (and two potential wild cards) that will decide the makeup of the Arizona Legislature. After redistricting, it’s always a bit of a surprise which districts will turn out to be competitive, but these are the ones to watch.
And you can find our cheat sheet on the four competitive congressional races in Arizona, which are being watched nationally as Republicans try to retake the House. This one also has some great illustrations of what these four districts look like.
Now that you know where to learn, all you have to do is fill out that ballot and turn it in. If you’re a mail voter, you’ll make election workers’ day if you turn the ballot in early rather than waiting until Election Day. And you’ll help all of us get results faster.
Use a blue or black pen when filling out your ballot at home. If you vote in person, use the pen they give you. And by all means, don’t steal the pens. We would love to stop talking about pens.
In the comments of today’s newsletter, feel free to ask us about any additional info you may need on a given race or where to find something on your ballot we didn’t address. We’ll do our best to track it down.
Our mission is to make politics understandable and easy to follow so that you can become more engaged with the people who govern you. These cheat sheets are one way we do that.
To support that work, become a paid subscriber. Throughout the general election, we’ve discounted our annual subscriptions by 30% to provide you a more affordable way to stay up to date on Arizona politics and government.