WHO REPRESENTS YOU IN D.C.?
U.S. SENATORS & REPRESENTATIVES
Two U.S. Senators are elected per state for six-year terms. The 100-member Senate has the power to originate legislation, draft or amend bills, and filibuster (delay or block legislation via prolonged debate). The U.S. House of Representatives has 435 members, elected every two years in districts. Arizona presently has nine congressional districts. Both the House and Senate have oversight of the federal budget.
WHO REPRESENTS YOU LOCALLY?
STATE SENATORS & REPRESENTATIVES
The Arizona State Senate is the upper house of the Legislature, made up of 30 Senators, one from each of Arizona’s 30 legislative districts. The term of office is for two years. The Senate can draft, introduce, and vote on legislation. Along with the House, the Senate approves the state’s annual budget. The Senate can enact bills that are referred to voters for approval, and can place constitutional amendments on the ballot.
The Arizona State House of Representatives is the lower house of the Legislature, made up of 60 Representatives, two from each of Arizona’s 30 legislative districts. The term of office is for two years. The House can draft, introduce, and vote on legislation. Along with the Senate, the House approves the state’s annual budget. The House can enact bills that are referred to voters for approval, and can place constitutional amendments on the ballot. The House holds the sole power for impeachment of elected state officials, but defers to the Senate for any trial or conviction.
The Governor is similar to a company’s CEO, representing Arizona as the top elected officer in state business and functions in both official and ceremonial events. The Governor heads the Executive Branch of state government and holds great power in the budgeting process, as well as having authority over the appointment of state department directors and the Arizona Supreme Court. The Governor can appoint a replacement to a vacated seat in the U.S. Senate if that elected official leaves office before a scheduled election. The Governor can sign a bill into law, or veto a bill to prevent it from taking effect and send it back to the Legislature. The Governor is limited to two consecutive terms for a maximum of eight years.
MAYOR & CITY COUNCIL
The Mayor’s function in a city or town is similar to a Governor’s function in a state. The Mayor is the Chief Executive Officer of a city and often acts in a ceremonial role for the city and as the city’s spokesperson. The Mayor oversees the city’s administration and operations, although in some cases the appointed City Manager handles daily operations and staff. The Mayor runs City Council meetings, working with the Council to set policy.
A Mayor does not have the power to veto ordinances passed by the Council. The Mayor, however, does have the power to declare a state of emergency. The term is for four years.
The City/Town Council is an elected, local policy- and law-making body with the power to pass municipal laws and ordinances. At regular meetings open to the public, the Council hears requests and grievances of local citizens, and receives updates from city staff on projects and initiatives. The term is for four years. There are 91 city/town councils in AZ.
WHO ARE YOUR CURRENT ELECTED OFFICIALS?
It is easy to find out which district you live in (just enter your address). Your congressional district (CD) determines who represents you in the U.S. House of Representatives in D.C. Your legislative district (LD) determines who represents you in the Arizona State Senate and House of Representatives. Learn about additional elected representative positions (both locally and nationally) here.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PRIMARY & GENERAL ELECTION?
A primary election serves to narrow down each recognized political party's candidates. The candidates that win the nomination in the primary election advance to the general election. Arizona has an open primary which allows voters registered as "independent" to participate by designating to their County Recorder which partisan ballot they would like to receive. In order to appear on the primary ballot, all candidates must submit statewide nomination paperwork, a financial disclosure statement, and proof of obtaining the minimum required nomination petition signatures (see required signature amounts).
A general election is held between the party nominees elected in the primary (as well as any independent candidates). The winning candidate for each position is elected to office. The general election ballot can contain offices such as President of the U.S. (every 4 years), U.S. Senator, U.S. House of Representatives, Corporation Commissioner, State Senator, State House of Representatives, justices, judges, and local offices (as incumbent terms end). The general election ballot can also contain special propositions to be voted upon.