PHOENIX — Arizona voters are now nearly a month closer to the next election.
Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday signed legislation setting the primary for state and local elections on the first Tuesday in August of even-numbered years. That compares with the current law when voters go to the polls on the last Tuesday of that month.
Ducey provided no explanation of his decision to sign the measure, which drew bipartisan support.
Proponents of the law, which takes effect for the 2020 race, said county election officials have complained they need more time after the primary to deal with challenges and to prepare for the general election, which remains the first Tuesday in November.
In fact, this is the second time the election date has been moved up: A decade ago the primary was the first Tuesday in September.
But those additional weeks also could be helpful to candidates who survived particularly brutal and divisive primary battles, giving them the chance to patch up not only their own political wounds but reach out to their foes.
Not everyone thought the new date is a good idea.
One group of legislators said Arizona would do well to follow the lead of other states in having the primaries in May or June. Some also questioned having an election at a time when many people are on vacation.
But Rep. Joanne Osborne, R-Goodyear, said she likes the system the way it is now. She said any move for an earlier primary, including in early August, simply means an earlier start to campaigning — and more time of candidates inundating residents with robocalls and mailers.