I Fish. I Hunt. I Vote.: Arizona Secures Sportsmen Voter Registration

Contact: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Rocky Mountain States Senior Coordinator, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation 

Highlights:

  • Encouraging sportsmen’s involvement in the political process is an important method for protecting our outdoor heritage.
  • Facilitating voter registration for sportsmen and women, at the time they purchase hunting and fishing licenses, is one way to increase the number of sportsmen that are registered to vote.
  • Governor Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor Doug Ducey signed Arizona SB 1819 into law, including language requiring the Arizona Game and Fish Department to assist with voter registration when accepting applications for a hunting, fishing, or trapping license.

Why it Matters: Encouraging sportsmen and women’s involvement in the political process is an important method for protecting our outdoor sporting heritage. Increased public participation, particularly at the ballot box, ensures that hunters, anglers, and trappers are represented, which strengthens the ability of the outdoor sporting community to collectively defeat anti-sportsmen policy objectives. Facilitating voter registration for sportsmen and women, at the time they purchase hunting and fishing licenses, is one way to increase the number of sportsmen that are registered to vote. In the final days of the 2021 session, Arizona was able to secure such a monumental win for the states outdoor sporting community.

The importance of sportsmen and women political representation cannot be overstated. Without it, the outdoor sporting community’s interests fall to the wayside, and our ability to defeat anti-sportsmen policy objectives waivers. As a means of protecting our outdoor heritage, it is imperative that sportsmen and women engage in the political process via the ballot box. One way to facilitate that is to offer voter registration for sportsmen and women at the time they purchase hunting and fishing licenses.

On June 30, 2021, Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor Doug Ducey signed Arizona SB 1819 - Budget Procedures and Reconciliation into law. While SB 1819 was a budget bill, it contained a significant win for Arizona’s outdoor sporting community. Sponsored by Arizona Legislators for Wildlife Caucus Co-Chair Senator Karen Fan, included in SB 1819 was the addition of language instructing the Arizona Game and Fish Department to provide assistance with voter registration when accepting applications for a hunting, fishing, or trapping license in both the online and in-person format.

Offering voter registration at the time of purchasing a hunting, fishing, or trapping license has been a top priority of the Arizona Legislators for Wildlife Caucus for some time. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation commends Arizona Legislators for Wildlife Caucus for seeing this initiative over the finish line and encourages other states to explore and support opportunities to adopt similar legislation in their states.

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Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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