As part of our mission to honor Senator John McCain’s legacy advancing democratic values at home and abroad, the McCain Institute supports initiatives aimed at studying and further advancing participatory democracy in Arizona. The McCain Institute has taken a special interest in engaging and researching youth voters and their participation in the political process in Arizona.
In October 2022, the McCain Institute hosted former Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) in Tempe, Ariz., on for a conversation with John S. McCain Democracy Fellow Sofia Gross entitled, “Courage in American Leadership: Conversation with Congresswoman Liz Cheney.” The conversation focused on leadership and civic engagement. Both speakers stressed how voting and civic engagement are the obligations of every American.
In 2023, the McCain Institute published a study focused on the youth vote in Arizona in partnership with SocialSphere Inc., the participation of young people (18-35) in the civic process, and their political views. The study found that while young people are becoming more engaged in the political process since 2018 through activism and voting, they are still participating at disproportionately low rates as electoral candidates. While more young voters are participating, with 43% turnout in the 2022 election, the study found a large proportion of those surveyed who did not vote reported entrenched disillusionment and disengagement from the political process. The McCain Institute discussed this dynamic and other findings from the report in an event on July 28, 2023.
The McCain Institute has also done important work to bring attention to the threats to Arizona Democracy from foreign actors. It co-hosted a panel in October 2022 with PCFR and the Alliance for Securing Democracy, focused on how and why foreign actors attempted to influence the election outcomes in the 2016 and 2020 elections.