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Q&AZ: Why Aren't Candidates' Names Just In Alphabetical Order On Arizona Ballots?

Q&AZ is supported in part by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Through KJZZ's Q&AZ reporting project, one listener asked: Why aren’t candidates’ names listed alphabetically?

The placement of candidates’ names on ballots goes beyond alphabetical order. It depends on the type of election, the city and sometimes even the precinct.

Arizona state law requires if two or more candidates appear on a ballot, precincts rotate the names of each candidate so that every name appears an equal number of times in every position.

Charters for towns and cities may call for a ballot draw, a public proceeding to select the order of candidates. It leaves the order up to chance, and was used in March’s Presidential Preference Election.

November’s general election will be ordered by political party affiliation. The party of the gubernatorial candidate who received the most votes in each county will be listed first. This means the name of the Republican candidate is first in Maricopa County.

Vaughan Jones is the weekend reporter for KJZZ, and a graduate of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism, with a minor in music. As a Phoenix native, Jones’s dream is to serve his community by covering important stories in the metropolitan area.He spent two years as music director at Blaze Radio, ASU’s student-run radio station. His passion for radio stems from joining Blaze his freshman year as a DJ.When he is not working, Jones can be found writing music with his band, playing video games with his friends, or watching his favorite Phoenix-area sports teams.