Could Newly Registered Arizona Voters Decide Proposition 205?

Published: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - 6:05am
Updated: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - 3:02pm
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Recent polls show the vote on whether to legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona will likely be very close, and a last-minute flurry of newly registered voters could affect the outcome.

Since shortly before the Arizona Supreme Court shot down an appeal to block Proposition 205 from the ballot, about 142,000 people have registered to vote, said Garrett Archer, assistant director of elections information systems for the Arizona Secretary of State. About 55 percent of newly registered voters are between the ages of 18 and 35.

“If you would like to make the assumption, and I know it’s a general assumption that people make, that people of the younger age demographic are more inclined to support marijuana,” Archer said. “Then you could also make a compelling argument that some of these people did in fact sign up just to make sure they can vote on 205.”

One of those young voters is Emma Natzke, a 20-year-old psychology student at Arizona State University. Natzke said she considered voting in her native Washington, D.C, but said Proposition 205 is a big reason why she’ll cast her ballot in the Grand Canyon State.

“I know a lot of people who have been charged, gotten felonies,” Natzke said. “And their futures are really at risk because of these charges for such a menial drug, something that shouldn’t have to alter futures.”

Opponents of Proposition 205 see marijuana as a threat to Arizona’s future overall. They say legalization will lead to more DUI fatalities, expose children to things like weed-infused candies and leave cities powerless to regulate dispensaries.

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