A. This initiative will ensure that every person qualified to vote, including those not affiliated with any political party, has the right to vote at any election for any candidate, regardless of the voter's or the candidate's party affiliation or lack of party affiliation.
(2) Creates in its place an Open "Top Two" Primary Election, in which all candidates running for an office appear together on the same ballot and all qualified voters (regardless of party affiliation or lack thereof) are able to vote for the candidate of their choice. The two candidates receiving the highest vote totals for each office would then go on to face each other in the general election.
C. This proposition applies to all Arizona elections in which a candidate's party affiliation, registration, or preference may appear on the ballot. It does not apply to elections in which no party affiliation, registration, or preference appears on the ballot, and it also does not apply to the system for the election of President and Vice President of the United States.
Section 10. The Legislature shall enact a direct primary election law, which shall provide for the nomination of candidates for all elective State, county, and city offices, including candidates for United States Senator and for Representative in Congress. Any person who is registered as no party preference or independent as the party preference or who is registered with a political party that is not qualified for representation on the ballot may vote in the primary election of any one of the political parties that is qualified for the ballot.
RIGHTS OF VOTERS
RIGHTS OF CANDIDATES
F. BALLOT LANGUAGE . IN ALL GOVERNMENT-ISSUED VOTER EDUCATION MATERIALS THAT CONTAIN A LIST OF CANDIDATES STANDING FOR ELECTION AND ON EVERY PRIMARY AND GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT, THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE SHALL BE PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED: "THE PARTY REGISTRATION (IF ANY) STATED WITH THE CANDIDATES' NAMES ON THIS BALLOT IS NOT AN INDICATION THAT A CANDIDATE HAS BEEN NOMINATED OR ENDORSED BY THAT PARTY, BUT ONLY REFLECTS THE PARTY REGISTRATION (IF ANY) OF THE CANDIDATE."
RIGHTS OF POLITICAL PARTIES
LEVEL PLAYING FIELD
If any provision of this initiative is held invalid for any reason, the remaining portions of this initiative will be severed from the void portion and given the fullest possible force and application. The people of Arizona declare their intention that the provisions of this initiative are severable.
If approved by the voters, this Constitutional Amendment shall apply to all elections occurring after January 1, 2014, and shall supersede any existing state statutes, regulations, and elections procedures to the extent that they are inconsistent with this Constitutional Amendment. The Legislature, Secretary of State and local officials shall promptly make such changes in and additions to state statutes, regulations, and elections procedures as are necessary to fully implement the provisions of this Constitutional Amendment in time for the open primary election in 2014 and for every open primary and general election thereafter. Legislation, regulations, and elections procedures implementing this amendment must be consistent with and further the purpose of this amendment to permit and encourage all qualified voters in Arizona to vote in primary and general elections for the candidates of their choice, regardless of the political affiliation of voters and candidates.
Beginning with the 2014 elections, Proposition 121 would amend the Arizona Constitution by eliminating the longstanding primary election that allows each recognized political party in Arizona to select its own nominee for the general election. In its place would be a primary election system in which registered voters may vote for candidates regardless of political affiliation. A funding source has not been identified that will pay the cost of the open top two primary election that will replace the current system. Additionally, the number of candidates who appear on the general election ballot would be limited to only the two who receive the most votes and any qualified write-in candidates, except that, for any office to which more than one candidate shall be elected, the number of candidates who will compete in the general election shall be the number of candidates to be elected times two. Currently, all candidates who receive the most votes in their party primary appear on the general election ballot. This often results in more than two candidates appearing on the general election ballot.
Under Proposition 121, the signature requirement for candidates wishing to run in the open primary election for an office would be based on the total votes cast for all candidates for that office at the previous general election and would be the same for all candidates regardless of party affiliation or lack of affiliation. Each candidate who declared a party preference on their voter registration form would have that preference listed, up to twenty characters, on the nominating petition and on the primary and general election ballots. If no party preference is declared on a candidate's registration form, no preference would be listed on the petition and ballots. All government-issued voter education materials and ballots would contain a notice that any political party registration listed for a candidate is not an indication that the candidate has been nominated or endorsed by that political party.
Proposition 121 provides that individuals may organize or join political parties and that political parties may elect party officers, support or oppose candidates and otherwise participate in all elections, if the party activity is not paid for or subsidized using public funds. All voters, candidates and political parties must be treated equally, regardless of party affiliation or lack of affiliation. When registering to vote, voters would be allowed to state any party preference in their own words and would not be limited to selecting from a list of recognized political parties or affiliations.
The proposition leaves to future Legislatures and governing bodies a number of issues, including who will have access to the statewide voter database, how vacancies will be handled, what percentage of votes will be set each year as the number of petition signatures required by each candidate for each office to qualify for the ballot, how to pay for the two tier election and how to pay for the cost of implementation and conforming legislation. The Department of Justice must pre-clear any changes.
State law requires the Joint Legislative Budget Committee Staff to prepare a summary of the fiscal impact of certain ballot measures. Proposition 121 would replace the partisan primary election with an open "top two" primary election. The state government is currently responsible for the cost of sample ballots sent to voters. By consolidating the different types of party sample ballots, Proposition 121 is projected to reduce printing costs and result in a state government savings of $(165,000) to $(278,000).
Local governments currently pay the other primary election expenses. Proposition 121 is expected to increase these expenses due to greater production and mailing of ballots primarily to independent voters on the early voting list who do not currently receive a primary ballot. The open primary may also increase the number of ballot pages. The additional local government cost is projected to range from $440,000 to $2 million.
The Open Elections Open Government system allows all Arizonans to vote in an open primary for the candidate of their choice, regardless of their party affiliation. It ends the current system of taxpayer-funded partisan primaries, and gives Independent voters and candidates an equal voice in the election process.
Under Open Elections all candidates for an office run on the same ballot in an August Primary. All voters can vote in this primary election. Then the top two vote getters face each other in a runoff election.
Under the existing taxpayer-funded partisan primaries, small minorities of voters select candidates who often represent the ideological extremes of the parties. Under the current system, Independent voters, who are the fastest growing category of voters in Arizona and the U.S., have little or no role in the process. In fact, in Arizona 26 out of 30 legislative districts are gerrymandered, or "safe" districts and thus the voters have no choice in the general election. The true majority of voters are cut out of the process.
Allowing every voter the right to vote in every election will result in elected officials who have to be accessible to all voters not just a powerful few. It will encourage elected officials to be more respectful and listen to the views of others for the public good.
Greater Phoenix Leadership (
Public policy decisions at every level of government in Arizona impact the quality of life of all Arizonans, as well as the strength and vitality of our businesses and our State's economy. Insuring a quality education system, strong workforce development, an environment in which businesses of all sizes can grow and provide jobs, and sound fiscal policies in our State, county and local governments are all critical public policy decisions. Elections provide a unique opportunity for every voter to impact public policy at all levels of government, and is a responsibility that determines our future.
After a careful and thorough evaluation of the Open Elections Open Government Initiative, the Southern Arizona Leadership Council has chosen to endorse this significant election reform measure on the 2012 ballot.
Central to SALC's operations is the belief that a successful community relies and builds upon all of its resources--civic leaders, government officials, engaged citizens and business officials. SALC believes there is a shared responsibility for creating an economically vibrant region in which to live and work.
As an organization we feel that our region and Arizona as a whole need our elected leaders to represent all of the people of our state. With Open Elections all citizens will be allowed to vote in all elections. This means that candidates will be encouraged to campaign and discuss the significant issues facing Arizona, not to a select few in partisan primaries, but to members of all political parties and to the growing number of Independents also. Typically one party or another dominates a legislative district which means that for all practical purposes whoever wins the partisan primary will be victorious in the general election. Open Elections changes that dynamic in a positive way with all voters choosing among all candidates in a primary and the top two moving on to a runoff general election. Every voter is involved in every step of the election process.
In the ten years I have served on the Scottsdale City Council I have run in three municipal elections. The great thing about our nonpartisan municipal elections is every voter, regardless of party registration, has the choice to vote for any candidate in the primary and general elections, regardless of the candidate's party affiliation. This gives Scottsdale voters the maximum opportunity to vote for the people they believe will best represent them on the City Council.
The Open Elections Open Government Initiative would extend that high level of voter choice to our elections for state offices. Currently, voters are limited because they can only cast ballots in primary elections for candidates from one party. For example, currently, voters who believe the best candidates for the two House seats in their legislative district are from different parties can vote for only one of those candidates in the primary election. This initiative will fix that problem.
This initiative would still allow candidates to identify their party affiliation on the ballot if they wish, and political parties would continue to be able to promote the candidates and issues of their choice. Also, "straight ticket" voters who want to support only candidates from a particular political party would still be free to do so. But, for the ever-increasing number of voters who want the option to vote for the candidates they believe will best represent them, regardless of party affiliation, in every election, the Open Elections Open Government Initiative would give them that choice.
Statement: Like much of the nation, Tucson Hispanic Chamber members have been discouraged by the divisiveness of our local, state and federal politics. We believe the Open Elections initiative will provide more opportunities for moderate pro-business candidates within any party. It should encourage a more civil tone to Arizona politics and less conflict over ideological differences.
The open primary favors no particular party and gives every voter the right to vote in every election. In order to win public office, candidates would be forced to talk to all voters instead of only the most partisan ones. That means more democracy and more accountability, and it's the reason to support Prop 121.
As a small businessman, I know we must increase participation, open up the system, and put control back in the hands of voters. Partisan primaries in Arizona actually limit participation and empower the ideological few. The result is that we have a government run by people with a narrow political agenda, where special interest money rules. And--once in office--these extremists have actually worked to undermine the ability of voters to hold them accountable.
The majority party in the legislature tried to remove the chairwoman of the voter-approved Independent Redistricting Commission because they wanted total control of the elections process. In the wake of repeated scandals, they refused to ban gifts to themselves from lobbyists. Instead, their energy went into an attempt to sweep voter-approved funding from education and children's healthcare to pay for their own priorities.
We need state government to be focused on strengthening the economy and helping to create jobs instead of questioning the citizenship status of the President of the United States. We need them focused on funding good schools that will prepare our children to succeed, not talking about putting guns on school campuses.
In a democracy, every citizen who registers to vote and participates should have an equal voice in choosing elected representatives. Every step away from that simple policy is a step away from democracy. Please support open and accountable government by voting in favor of Prop 121.
With more and more voters in Arizona identifying themselves as Independent, it no longer makes sense for taxpayers to have to pay millions of dollars each election cycle for Democratic and Republican primary elections. In fact, there are more Independent voters in Arizona than Democrats, and it is projected that very soon there will be more Independent voters than Republicans as well.
With the Open Elections Initiative, a candidate can still run as a Republican or Democrat or Libertarian, and the political party designation can still be on the ballot. But all voters will get to choose from all candidates, and then there will be a runoff of the top two vote getters. That makes sense. This way the candidates will all run together and be forced to campaign to all voters - not just a select few voting in a party primary. This will open up the system and foster better communication between those running and those voting.
Political parties can still nominate candidates to run if they wish. So a candidate could be the "official" nominee of a political party - but not at taxpayer expense. There is nothing wrong with political parties or candidates running under the banner of a political party - just not at my expense. There is nothing in the Constitution about political parties, and yet they have a lot of control over the election system.
Arizona was once known for its ability to tackle major issues through cooperative efforts for the common good. How else could you explain scratching out the fifth/sixth largest city in the country in a desert that has an annual rainfall of 7"?
Currently we elect along party lines, and the primary is at the heart of the matter. The current primary system seems to bring out extreme candidates, who often get elected and go to represent their party instead of the people. Once elected, grandstanding takes the place of problem solving, and towing the party line is the order of the day. We need to return to the days when we elected "statesmen" that went to the capital and worked through the issues for the common good.
The Buckeye Valley Chamber of Commerce feels that the changes the Open Elections initiative proposes will benefit the State of Arizona and allow small businesses greater influence in the process of who is elected. The election will no longer be about party affiliation, but about who are the best overall candidates, and loosen the political stranglehold that the two-party system has on our state/country.
If this proposition passes in November, all voters will be allowed to vote in all elections, regardless of party affiliation. We support this change and believe that it will move us back towards the goal of the founding fathers that Abraham Lincoln so eloquently coined in the Gettysburg Address as a "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
The Open Elections Open Government Act is nothing new to Arizona . It is a commonsense approach that has been used by cities and towns throughout our state for decades! Today, of the 91 cities in Arizona, 90 use this system .
Opponents of this act sometimes point to other states and warn that Open Elections is a new system and untested. In truth, several states have successfully enacted Open Elections and Arizona already has Open Elections in its cities and towns. The level of government that is the closest to the people has always functioned best. Local government (which provides services such as police and fire protection, public utilities, streets, parks, senior services, etc...) has never had room for partisan politics and has never been dominated by partisan primaries or political parties . A May 2012 poll, commissioned by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, found that voters increasingly trust cities and towns most with taxpayer dollars .
Arizonans are increasingly registering as Independents and moving away from the parties. Although public opinion tells us that people value a spirit of cooperation from politicians regardless of party affiliation , elected officials in our legislature are often punished by their own party leadership when they reach across the aisle.
Each of us has served in public office under a non-partisan system. Although we do have party affiliations (as both registered Democrats and Republicans) we were never beholden to the political parties because in non-partisan elections we answered to ALL the voters we represented . We were able to work together because we weren't controlled by a partisan primary system.
Chicanos Por La Causa recognizes the enormous responsibility it bears as the only community development corporation in Arizona to offer extensive services in both urban and rural communities with a focus on four major areas:
It is in this spirit that
In order for communities to prosper, we must have an economy that produces jobs. And for the economy to produce jobs, we must have a quality education system where students learn and are trained for the growing demands of the 21 st century. For this to happen, our elected leaders must work together to meet the ever increasing challenges that face Arizona as well as the nation at large.
Arrowhead Health Centers is a sponsor of The Open Elections initiative. We support this measure because of our deep concern about the damage being done to our state and our nation by the current level of acrimony in the partisan process.
It seems that partisan politics has become nothing more than a team sport. Politicians seem more concerned about the needs of their team, the red team or the blue team, than they are about the state or our country. All that matters is how do they get a majority or keep a majority.
To build an economy focused on high-end jobs, we have to abandon the politics of the right and the left and empower the private sector forces of innovation and creation, while investing in education to build the intellectual capital of a knowledge economy. This will only happen if we support a broader political view than our narrow primary system has fostered.
The Open Election Open Government Act, while not a panacea, would allow EVERY voter the right to vote in EVERY election . Elected officials would no longer be able to win by addressing narrow minority groups inside partisan primaries. To win they would be required to talk to people in the other party as well as independents. To get these crossover votes they are incentivized to work with all sides. It is a system that has worked well in our cities.
The current partisan process through which we elect our Arizona legislature has had significant negative economic consequences. Politicians elected through partisan primaries have created an environment where Arizona's economy is held captive to elected officials who frequently use ideology without regard to economic repercussions.
In the past two years, during the toughest economy in Arizona's history, legislators responded with actions that harmed, rather than assisted, Arizona's economy. Arizona's brand has been damaged leading Arizona to be unfairly labeled as a racist, backwards state. Legislators sharply curtailed state investments in education, while enacting corporate tax breaks without sufficient accountability on economic returns. Because of an extreme ideology, they rejected federal dollars that would have come at no cost to Arizona taxpayers, rejecting federal money for extended unemployment insurance and again with Medicaid, even when the matching dollars were offered by hospitals.
The Open Election Open Government Act, while not a panacea, allows every voter the right to vote in every election. Winning politicians, instead of addressing narrow ideological groups inside partisan primaries, will be required to talk to people in the other party as well as independents. This should moderate Arizona's politics.
To build an economy focused on high-end jobs, we have to empower private sector forces of innovation and creation, while investing in an educational system that provides a solid workforce and environment that advances the intellectual capital of a knowledge economy. This will only happen if we support a broader political view than our partisan system has fostered.
I have lived in Tucson for more than 50 years. Arizona is a great state with wonderful people. But I am increasingly disillusioned by public officials, who primarily seem to represent the narrow interests of the base of their political party . Politicians are caught in a political system that encourages partisanship over cooperation. The desire to achieve consensus and the willingness to compromise are traits looked down upon by many elected officials. This conflict-driven atmosphere starts with our partisan "invitation only" primary system - where only a small minority of people bother to vote. Independents, which make up about one third of the state, are just about left out of the primary system and find it difficult to run for office.
The Open Elections Initiative is a "game changer" . The basic concept has already been adopted in Washington and California. The new system does away with partisan primaries and requires all candidates to run together - meaning everyone is allowed to vote, even Independents. The two candidates with the most votes then face each other in a runoff election. All the candidates run together and all the people get to vote . The candidates will have to campaign and communicate with all the voters, not just the members of their own party.
Elections should be about the choices made by citizens--voters--about who they want to represent them, not about the partisan agendas of political parties. Our current system, on the other hand, disenfranchises much of the electorate, increases partisanship and tends to elect ideological extremists who have no interest in compromise. This proposition will help correct the problems.
1. Under the current election system, Independents are shut out of being candidates. Currently a Republican or Democrat running for statewide office needs about 5000 signatures; a Libertarian needs a little over 100; a Green Party member needs nearly 1000. But an Independent needs more than 31,000. This is ludicrous and discriminatory. The proposition would level the playing field and require everyone to obtain the same number of signatures
2. Currently, Arizona system elects people who do not represent the state's population. One third of the electorate is now registered as Independent. Republicans and Democrats split the other 2/3, with somewhat more Republicans. But only about 25% of registered party members vote in primaries. That means that less than 10% of the electorate is choosing the two candidates who make it to the general election, where one party generally tends to dominate. As more people leave the parties in disgust and register as Independents, a smaller and smaller number are left choosing who runs the state.
3. Under our current system, taxpayers are paying for political parties to select their own candidates. Why should taxpayers who are not members of these "clubs" foot the bill for a private selection process? The proposition would allow the parties to choose "officially endorsed" candidates and publicize that choice at party expense.
In Arizona under the present system there are only party primaries. In most legislative districts there is only one predominant party of registered voters. Therefore the candidates from that party are effectively elected at the primary, not at the general election.
When we have a system of elections where only a few elect our representatives because only a few vote in a primary, not only do we disenfranchise our citizens, but we elect representatives who support What's Not Important for Arizona's Vitality.
Yet this year has also been a time of sadness and shame for Arizonans when we consider the condition of our civic life. Several members of our Legislature have resigned in disgrace. Other public officials have been investigated for corruption. And too many of our politicians, rather than working together on issues that are important to Arizona's families (like jobs, education, and protecting our beautiful environment) instead spend their time on divisive fringe issues.
If you are happy with the work being done by Congress and the Arizona Legislature, then you probably should vote "No" on the Open Elections/Open Government Initiative, because the goal of this initiative is to change the status quo and elect new and different people to office. Instead of continuing the system of partisan primaries, where a small minority of voters elect candidates who often cater to the extremes of both major parties, all Arizona voters would be able to choose from all candidates running for an office in an open primary. The two candidates with the most votes (regardless of party affiliation) would then face each other in the general election. For the first time in Arizona, we would have a simple, fair election system with a level playing field for all voters and all candidates.
Extreme political partisanship is a disease that has infected our political system. The disease is systemic and is causing moderate voters to disengage from the political process because they believe government is broken and no longer represents them. Indeed, more than 1/3 of Arizona voters are registered independents, by far the fastest growing segment of voters. Yet not a single independent serves in the Arizona legislature. Instead we are governed by extremists on both the right and the left, who are more concerned about imposing a political ideology than in improving our state.
But it is not government that is broken; our political primary system is the problem. Ideological purity is enforced by the political parties targeting in the next primary election any member who shows moderate or pragmatic tendencies. As a result, the political parties are becoming more ideological and less able or willing to develop and elect leaders who can effectively deal with our problems.
The Open Elections - Open Government Initiative will replace the current Primary system in which only a limited number of voters now participate and are only permitted to cast ballots for the partisan candidates from one party. In its place there will be a Primary election open to
Under the current Primary system, candidates are rewarded for appealing only to the ideological purists in their party who vote in primary elections. The Initiative will reform the primary system by rewarding a candidate who appeals to a wider and more moderate swath of voters.
Disillusionment with our political representatives has never been higher. As a result, a significant rise in independents and non-partisan voters has emerged state-wide and across the nation. An Open Elections law will give a voice to these disenfranchised voters in primary elections.
We do not elect our political leaders to score ideological points or play rhetorical games with the vital issues of our state. We elect them to represent us -
The current primary process disadvantages moderates and independents inevitably forcing an unwilling electorate to choose between tweedle-dee and tweedle-dumber. Once in the state house these ideologues construct a funhouse of irrelevant and divisive issues - legislating on matters far removed from the average voters concerns. They call it "principle" and refuse to compromise on any point but it is a wretched principle that would allow the state to founder on a narrow partisanship .
That's one reason I support Proposition 121, the Open Elections/Open Government initiative. It gives us broader choices when we vote. If you went to the grocery store, and the grocer only had one brand of product on the shelves, you'd probably find another place to shop. Why should our choice at the ballot box be limited to one brand? Or only the brands offered by two companies?
More choices usually mean better options. And in politics, it means that more people will elect whomever it is we choose to serve us in government. Gone will be the days of one party dominating a district, county, or state and controlling our General Election options. Party political primaries that give us the candidate with the most extreme partisan appeal - Democrat or Republican - will be eliminated.
It's a game changer. Candidates have to worry about all of us, rather than a special interest class of voters within one political party. And the winning candidates will be forced to appeal to the interests of all of us, rather than being beholden to a small segment of their own political party.
Nothing is more important to a vibrant democracy than citizen participation! And the most basic level of participation is when candidates are being chosen to run for office - that is, a primary election. For too long decisions on candidates have been made by a handful of voters who are party stalwarts, who may have parochial or pet issues as their primary motivation and not the general welfare of the public at large. Some states have already recognized the need to open primary elections to all voters, regardless of party registration and it is heartening that now we in Arizona have the opportunity to do so as well. As the Staff Director of the Delaware House of Representatives (before my move to Arizona), I witnessed several examples of situations where an election was decided by a small minority of voters who lived in districts where only one party ever even nominated a candidate for the State Legislature. This is a situation which is not only bad for democracy but is demoralizing for residents of the district, who often simply give up trying to participate in their own governance.
Some might argue that under the proposed new system it would be possible for two candidates from the same party to run against each other in the general election, but my answer to that is
I am a life-long Democrat, and have worked on political issues and campaigns in Arizona for over 30 years. So, many were surprised when I joined the effort to change Arizona's primary elections from partisan elections, in which less that 10% of eligible voters decide the outcome, to a more open top-two primary, where every voter can vote for any candidate, regardless of party affiliation.
I believe that political parties are useful and necessary in our democratic system, but I also see that hyper-partisan politics have paralyzed our state and country. Elected officials no longer work in concert to do what is right or best for our country. Instead, they posture for sound bites and pander to the extreme factions of their own political parties, because they know their re-elections will be determined by these extreme voters under the current partisan primary elections.
We must do something to moderate the extremism that currently dominates policy making , and to inform and involve more citizens in the voting process . Is this initiative a "silver bullet" that will solve all of our political woes--No. Will there be unintended consequences--Probably. But, do I believe this system is an improvement over our current situation-- ABSOLUTELY .
I would like politicians who are willing to put the good of the country and their constituents ahead of the interests of their own party, who are willing to listen to the viewpoints that are contrary to their own, who are willing to work with their colleagues of the opposite party, who will
Elected officials should be accountable to all of their constituents. Under the current partisan primary system, however, voter statistics ensure that approximately 2/3rds of our elected representatives to the Arizona Legislature and the U.S. Congress are actually chosen in restricted partisan primaries. Due to the typically low, and highly partisan, turnout for primary elections this means that more than 65% of our officials are typically elected by approximately 15% of the most ardent voters. The will of the remaining 85% of voters in those districts can be, and routinely is, ignored without consequence. The result is effective rule of the minority.
Under Open Elections, Open Government, successful candidates would no longer have the option of serving only the most devout members of their own party, but would be accountable to all of their constituents. At a minimum, an open primary system would give all registered voters a real voice in who speaks for them in the Legislature and Congress. If you believe that the basis of our American Democracy is that every vote should matter, and every voice should be heard, I urge you to vote "Yes" for Open Elections, Open Government
We need to elect pragmatic and responsible leaders who appreciate and celebrate the diversity of our great state and our varied interests. We need leaders who dedicate themselves to serving all of our state and all of our residents. We need leaders who know how to bridge economic, cultural and political divides and create common ground. I don't care whose political philosophy is better. I'm not interesting in seeing my personal political philosophy win or any one political party "take over" our state. I recognize that we are too diverse to expect the majority of our residents and leaders to agree on many of the controversial issues that divide us. I am looking for a legislature that reflects the diversity of our state and leaders who strive to broadly engage all Arizonans to participate in governing our state. I am looking for leaders who will commit to the hard work of compromising, to finding sufficient common ground for us to move forward and face our challenges. We need leaders who will lead. We need elected officials who will help us take advantage of our opportunities and invest in our future.
Our current system is broken. The open primary - open government initiative offers the best option we have to begin making changes - to begin pushing back against the partisan, divisive and ineffective politics that have overtaken our state.
The Open Elections Initiative will provide an important election reform. Already passed in a number of states, Open Elections will allow all voters to vote in all elections . Considering the growing number of Independent voters in Arizona, who now make up one third of the electorate, it makes sense to abolish partisan primaries that are paid for by all the taxpayers of Arizona.
With partisan primaries gone, candidates running for office will be forced to speak to all the voters, not just those people in their particular political party. This will create positive change in the way campaigns are run. Currently, many legislative districts and congressional districts are non-competitive, meaning that they are dominated by the voters of one political party. In that common situation, the candidates from the dominant party campaign solely to their own party members, since they know whoever wins their party's primary will win the general election. This results in a closed system where so many voters are left out of the process.
If all of the candidates run together and all of the voters get to vote in every election, we will have a much more open debate and a more open government system on all levels - from state to federal. Candidates will have to consider the views of Independent voters. This is a very significant change in the way elections will be held in Arizona. This Initiative is a promise for a more open government, which will better represent people across the state.
Holding our elected officials accountable begins by expanding the franchise so all voters can vote on all candidates and the top two vote-getters advance to the general election. We will be better represented by the increased competition.
Sometimes the most complicated things turn out to be simple, if you peel away all that seems complex. Like those times when you feel angry at your husband and you think he doesn't understand you. Then you realize he told you he'd take the car to have the oil changed but forgot, and that's the reason you're angry. You don't have to rethink the marriage. You just have to get him to have the oil changed.
The same is true for Top Two Open Primary, Proposition 121, which asks the voters (you!) to change the system of primary voting from a system based on the political parties to a system based on the voters - all voters - whether they're in a party or not.
There are complicated arguments being made on all sides. The parties - Democrat, Republican, Green, Libertarian - and almost all the politicians don't like the change. Independents (maybe you're one since 30% of Arizonans are) and nonpartisan Democrats and Republicans favor it. You will hear many analyses of the impact, the positives, the negatives, the motives, who it will help, who it will hurt, etc. It will get pretty complex.
But it's really pretty simple when you get down to it. I say this as the leader of IndependentVoting.org, a broad movement of independent voters, and a supporter of nonpartisan elections. Proposition 121 is healthier for the democratic process because all voters get to vote and all candidates compete against each other and must make their case to all the voters. Proposition 121 is like an oil change in that it greases the wheels of democracy. It puts everyone on equal footing and creates a positive environment for coalition building. That's pretty simple, it seems to me. And sometimes something simple can make a big difference!
The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits supports the Open Government Initiative as a way to promote civic engagement and actively include all voters in all stages of the election process. The engagement of citizens in their communities, especially their civic life, is a core purpose of nonprofit organizations, which exist to build and sustain communities. It is therefore in the interest of the communities served by nonprofits that their citizens are active participants in the key public decisions that affect their lives. Under Arizona's current primary election law, it is very difficult for voters who are not registered in one of the two largest political parties to fully participate in primary elections. The Open Government Initiative would allow all voters to actively participate in the primary election. This is becoming even more important as Independents are the fastest growing bloc of registered voters. All citizens should be voters and all voters should be encouraged to participate in the primary election. The Open Government Initiative would achieve those ends and foster the same civic engagement that is the fabric of our communities.
As the former Chair of the Arizona Board of Regents I have observed too many Legislative fights that had little to do with the merits of the issue - or the critical need we have to invest in and improve our states education system. Legislative party caucus politics made meaningful debate - and progress for Arizona - impossible. The cuts to education, and the inability of our legislative leadership to even fund the accountability measure they themselves passed, is evidence of this dysfunction. We need the change and the new leadership Open Elections will provide.
Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. For decades, Arizona's closed primary system has given us partisan politics controlled by party bosses, lobbyists, and Big Money. We keep electing the same partisan people who keep ignoring the very issues we want them to fix:
Repairing the Arizona economy, Balancing the state's budget, Making our communities safer places in which to live, Creating better schools and universities, and an Arizona better prepared for the future.
Closed political primaries shut out independents and severely reduce your options. By contrast, the new open system created by Proposition 121 will give you a choice regardless of your party affiliation. In open primaries, voters of any party or no party may vote for any candidate. The two leading vote-getters then advance to a November one-on-one run-off.
Who supports Proposition 121? Nurses, police officers, the statewide business community, fire fighters, and everyone from CEOs to workers on the frontlines want a process that elects responsible people. We believe it's time for a new system, one that gives our state new leaders with a renewed focus on what's important to Arizona and our future. It's time we end elections controlled by the few who then shortchange the many. It's time for a more open system.
Things change. That's why Constitutions can be amended in the first place. The Founding Fathers were able to anticipate at least that much, acknowledging that they would have no idea what those changes might need to be.
In our republican form of government, it strikes me as unconscionable to pretend to govern under a two-party primary system when the largest (or soon to be) body of voters do not identify with either of the major parties (nor any of the others for that matter). Under current law, the only way that an Independent can vote in a primary is to "pick" one of the parties. Independents have already made it clear that they don't pick
OpenGovernment/OpenElections does nothing to disenfranchise those who want to support candidates from their party. What it
Founding Fathers could not have anticipated that Independents would ever comprise such a large block of the electorate. But they did provide for a way to adjust our election system to be as fair and as competitive as possible.
121 is the first step in making sure more Arizonans are involved in the election process. The naked partisanship that is now a traditional part of our process discourages far too many voters and results in our legislators being elected by a tiny minority of voters. This is especially true in primary elections in which the voter registration is so lopsided for one party or the other there is no real competition and no point in voting in an election in which the outcome is very nearly predetermined. We now know, for example, that in our primary elections; State Representatives are elected by a scant 9% of the electorate and our State Senators are elected by only 13% of eligible voters. That is hardly representative government by any standard.
The Open Elections Open Government initiative will cause all candidates to appeal to all voters which will encourage greater turnout in elections that should become more competitive. More voters will get involved and participate in the process and candidates will have to stop their narrow, partisan appeals to a very small segment of the voting population.
Please join us and support 121 and start Arizona on the road to real elections requiring our candidates to appeal to more voters and giving voters the confidence that their needs and issues are also being addressed.
When people ask me what party I belong to, I sometimes find it difficult to say that I'm a Republican. Even though I've been registered in the Republican Party ever since I registered to vote, I find that the title no longer seems to represent me accurately. It's not that I've changed my views; my opinions are the same as they've ever been. The party, however, has changed so much that it's hardly recognizable.
The radical folks in our legislature keep getting re-elected because of a system that encourages unrelenting partisanship, and when they get to office, they are so entrenched in their own party rhetoric that they can't even discuss important issues with the other side. Many radicals are elected by a small fraction of the voters in the primary and go on to win in the general election in districts with a strong majority of the voters registered to one party or the other. We end up with ineffective government, and all because politicians have no accountability to the majority of their constituents or to those on the other side of the issues.
This means that voters like me are left voiceless. I support the Open Elections Open Government initiative , because it will give me back my representation. Anyone who feels that the parties are on a rampage will finally have the ability to vote for the candidate who actually represents them, and not the candidate who managed to attract the most extreme voters in order to get onto the ballot.
The Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, a statewide organization representing first responders, believes that Open Elections Open Government is an important proposition affecting our voting rights.
Arizonans need and deserve open and effective government to meet the challenges facing our state. Creating jobs, supporting public safety, maintaining a quality education system, providing healthcare for children living in poverty along with many other issues, need our elected officials working together and with business and community leaders to provide the quality of life we all value and expect.
The premise of Open Election Open Government is quite simple. Every Arizona voter gets to vote in every election. No longer will candidates just campaign to a narrow segment of the voting population in taxpayer funded partisan primaries. With Open Elections Open Government all candidates, regardless of party registration, will run on one ballot and all voters will be allowed to vote. Then there will be a runoff election of the top vote getters for each office.
We know that Fire Fighters come in all political stripes. Some are Republican, some are Democrats and many are registered Independents. We want all Arizonans, including Fire Fighters, to become involved in our democratic process from the local to the federal level. And they are more likely to do that if the system is less exclusionary and more open to all voters, regardless of their party affiliation.
Our mission is to protect families across the state. We take that mission very seriously and are dedicated to the safety of the people we serve. And as public servants we value the most open and effective local, state and federal government possible. That is why we so strongly endorse Open Elections Open Government.
Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (
Currently Independents, who make up one third of the state's electorate, are subjected to an burdensome process to vote in primary elections which has a chilling effect on their participation in the voting process. Independent candidates likewise believe the process of running for office equally challenging and often do not run for elected office for that reason.
Like the people of Arizona that they protect, public safety professionals come from many political ideologies and believe that the people we so proudly safeguard should have full access to the ballot in every election. It is the American way and as such we support the Open Elections Open Government initiative.
The Open Elections/Open Government initiative is simple: In the new open primary system, voters of any party and independents will have the opportunity to vote for any candidate. The two top vote-getters will advance to a November run-off election.
This simple change will reduce the influence of political parties and lobbyists, meanwhile encouraging more independent, solution-minded candidates to seek office. Proposition 121 will empower voters, giving us more and better choices and a louder voice in the election process. No more will partisan primaries - paid for by taxpayers and dominated by handpicked candidates from one party - cater to a small group of voters who pick a winner while shutting out independents and the rest of us.
Please join your Fire Fighters and vote "
Advocates For Just Us, which is a ministry focused on voicing the concerns and struggles of those without a voice, supports Proposition 121. There is 33% of the electorate who have opted to register as non-partisan voters. Arizona's current primary election law disenfranchises registered non-partisan voters. Every citizen has a right to register to vote and should not be disenfranchised as a result of their non-party designation. Proposition 121 opens the way for all registered voters to have a voice in primary elections. Our current primary election law does not allow a registered non-partisan voter to vote in a primary election without first re-registering and declaring an affiliation with a political party. Proposition 121 begins the process of revising our current primary election law to ensure all registered voters are afforded an opportunity to vote in primary elections. The passing of Proposition 121 will promote a healthier elections process wherein all candidates seeking public office will have to make their case to all voters. Our vote is our voice and all registered voters who want to participate in primary elections should have the right to do so.
The Tucson Metro Chamber is a membership-based business advocacy organization that represents more than 1000 businesses in Tucson and Pima County. Small business makes up approximately 85 percent of Chamber membership, which reflects the overall Tucson area business community.
The Tucson Metro Chamber works to develop a climate in which businesses can create jobs and succeed in a robust economy. The Chamber represents business interests of its members with all levels of government and supports candidates and business-friendly ballot measures such as the Open Elections Open Government Initiative.
Open Elections Open Government will open up the election process by allowing every voter to cast a ballot in every election. Candidates will have an incentive to appeal to a wider range of voter concerns, instead of concentrating only on the concerns of certain factions of the candidate's political party. The Chamber's expectation is that the Initiative will encourage our elected officials to work collaboratively instead of in a partisan manner and to focus on important challenges confronting the Arizona economy and business community, rather than on distractive wedge issues .
Because the Tucson Metro Chamber understands the critical relationship between the political environment and the economy we wholeheartedly support this initiative and urge all the voters of Pima Country to vote yes on this significant ballot measure .
I urge you to vote
Arizona voters have long been displeased with their government officials and how they are elected. We tried term limits to bring in fresh blood, public financing to limit the influence of lobbyists, and an independent redistricting commission to create more competitive races. We frequently overrule the state legislature by changing tax rates and altering the budget through initiatives.
Voters are again signaling their discontent by abandoning the two major parties in droves and declining to participate in partisan primaries. Those few who vote in primaries often select the candidate with the most extreme views. The result is elected officials who too often put partisan politics ahead of good government.
Previous efforts to improve elections focused on the candidates, but Proposition 121 empowers the voters. All voters, regardless of party affiliation , will be able to vote in an open primary for any candidate they prefer. Candidates will have to appeal to everyone that they seek to represent, not just the party faithful, giving more reasonable people a chance to win elected office.
Ultimately this Top 2 initiative is about openness. It opens the selection and election of candidates to the people; it gets political parties out of the formal election process; it prevents political parties giving us "their" candidates and ballots. With the Top 2 initiative, one size fits all. It allows voters to select the top vote getting candidates and have the top 2 face off in the final election. Such is a radical initiative
2) By the people : An open primary would bring a fuller voter participation in our democratic process by empowering all voters , especially those in the minority living in any of the one-party secured districts; thus, a true participatory democracy,
The current process by which we elect our Arizona legislature has created significant negative economic consequences on Arizona. Partisan primaries with limited participation have allowed an extreme minority agenda to direct our state's actions
In the past two years, during the toughest economy in our history , Arizona's brand has been damaged by these partisan extremists who have labeled Arizona, unfairly as a racist, backwards state - guns on school campuses, questioning the President's nationality, state's rights and secession while ignoring real issues of the economy and education .
Because of this extreme ideology, they rejected federal dollars that would have come at no cost to Arizona taxpayers, rejecting federal money for unemployment and Medicaid even when the matching dollars were offered by hospitals. Estimates of direct job losses are in the tens of thousands.
Open elections would allow EVERY voter the right to vote in EVERY election . Elected officials would no longer be able to win by addressing narrow minority groups inside partisan primaries. They would be required to talk to people in the other party as well as independents.
To build an economy focused on high-end jobs, we have to abandon the politics of the right and the left and empower private sector forces of innovation and creation, while investing in an education system that provides a solid work force and environment that advances the intellectual capital of a knowledge economy. This will only happen if we support a broader political view than our narrow primary system has fostered.
The Open Elections Open Government initiative has been endorsed by over 50 state business leaders and business organizations including Greater Phoenix Leadership, Southern Arizona Leadership, the Flagstaff 40, the Tucson Metro Chamber, Tucson Hispanic Chamber and other business organizations.
Arizonans are limited to voting only for the major party candidates in state and federal primary elections. In many districts, this practice allows incumbent candidates in non-competitive races to win their office without going to the general election, and disenfranchises thousands of citizens from the elections process.
Major party candidates in Arizona also have some advantages over independent and minority party candidates to qualify for primary ballots. Elections qualifications need to be the same for everyone running in a primary. Anything less is unfair and against the values of our nation.
Why shouldn't all Arizonans be allowed to vote for whomever they feel best represents their interests? The elections system needs to be reformed and we have that opportunity with Open Elections Open Government Initiative.
We can trace part of the extreme partisanship playing out in Arizona politics to issues inherent with our primary election system. Our current closed primary system shuts out too many of our citizens, including the growing number of independents who have not signed on to any party platform.
In today's environment, many of us are looking for community leaders who are willing to place the people of Arizona above any party rhetoric or political maneuvering. Our current partisan primary system often works against finding the best candidate over the
insider who has been courted by
While this open primary law won't fix all of the electoral issues that frustrates us today, this initiative will help ensure that candidates are answerable to
"The Legislature, governor and other top state leaders pride themselves on their conservative politics, but nearly six in 10 Republicans said they would prefer more moderate elected officials. In fact, the vast majority of Arizona voters (67%) - regardless of party - share that sentiment. Arizona Indicators by Morrison Institute (September 2010) poll by: Knowledge Networks Poll.
On the preceding pages you found businesses, community organizations, and community leaders supporting Open Elections/Open Government. Their motivation is simple - - a desire to change our current election process that seems to yield little these days beyond partisan sniping and gridlock. Starting out with a small group of volunteers and the goal of opening all elections to all candidates and all voters, they were ultimately joined by a record number of Arizonans --365,486--who signed the petition to place the Open Elections/Open Government initiative on the ballot.
Now turn this page to see who is opposing Open Elections/Open Government. No surprise - - - the politicians who like things just the way they are, the lobbyists who help them control the agenda, and partisan organizations that encourage hyper-partisanship and don't believe in compromise in order to get things done.
Unable to prevent the measure from going to the ballot, and even seeking to put a competing measure on the ballot to confuse us, politicians and lobbyists now resort to scare tactics and untruths with arguments that just don't hold water.
The Maricopa County Republican Party, through its elected leadership, formally opposes the Open Elections/Open Government initiative. The Open Elections/Open Government initiative would effectively abolish political parties in Arizona by prohibiting them from organizing and nominating candidates for virtually all public offices.
By preventing political parties from presenting their duly nominated candidates to the voters at election time, this initiative undermines freedom of choice for the voters and freedom of association for the people of Arizona.
The Republican Party does not agree with all the principles of minority parties such as the Libertarian and Green Parties, yet believes that their voices are important and if this initiative became law, minor party candidates would not finish in the top two positions and would clearly be cut out of the election process.
The Open Elections/Open Government initiative will make it more difficult to determine a candidate's position because of the lack of party affiliation and is widely viewed as an incumbency protection act.
Open primary elections in other states did not live up to their promises and, in fact, lowered voter turnout, and other feel-good initiatives such as the Independent Redistricting Commission in Arizona have not taken politics out of redistricting as promised, but vastly increased the political partisanship, gamesmanship and bureaucracy.
A general election with two candidates from the same faction with similarly held beliefs would diminish voter turnout through lack of interest. We urge all voters who value choice and diverse points of view at election time to vote against this initiative.
I urge you to vote
As Arizona's former Secretary of State, I know well the importance and value of increasing voter participation in our elections. But this proposition is not the way to do it. This measure is an attack on Arizona's political parties and an attack on our election process itself. Most disturbing, it threatens to create new opportunities for `sham' candidates whose sole purpose is to mislead voters and fraudulently impact the outcome of Arizona elections.
Fairness? If you embrace fairness do
. Top-2 can create
Independents will not make it onto the general ballot (except possibly if they are very wealthy). More money will be needed in the primary than ever before and they are without financial support from a party. As Top-2 has been described as an `incumbency protection plan', Independents are still left out. Arizona should simply ease the ridiculously unfair burden on Independents for ballot access (such as reducing the required-signatures needed).
In contrast to Top-2, Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) would elect the overall favorite of the people, treating all equally. RCV eliminates spoiler effects, tends to increase turnout and it encourages less polarization. RCV treats everyone fairly and can be used either IN primaries or to REPLACE primaries (ultimately saving money).
As a 30 year retired military veteran followed by almost 20 years in the private sector with my wife's successful business, I feel the necessity to take the time and highly encourage each and everyone one to
Frustration. This proposition has sprung up from frustration over `extreme', embarrassing or ineffectual government. Many well-meaning Arizonans support `Top-2' (labeled `open primaries') as an answer, stating it will elect more `moderates' but what we need is government representing MORE people and removing stumbling blocks to civil cooperation.
3. Voter turnout will
5. The `spoiler effect' remains. Supporters claim having only two candidates advance to the general election; ensures a majority vote without spoiler effect from third candidates. However, as the California election just showed, `spoiler effect' in the primary would be alive and well - and devastating.
6. There ARE solutions to election structure in Arizona. Just not this! Some might include: easing independent-candidate ballot access; repealing `sore loser' laws; allowing cross-filing, a true open primary, and ultimately using Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) as our election system. RCV solves many of the stated problems and gives voters more voice - instead of less.
Under our current primary and general election system, the election departments of county government handle balloting and counting with no direct charge to the participating political parties in the primaries.
That really bothers me because it leaves parties to figure out how to nominate their candidates, and without the readily available tools at county election departments to do it fairly and above suspicion. At the May 2012 Arizona Republican Party state convention, balloting for delegates to the Republican National Convention was a disgrace, with all kinds of irregularities, and they did not even complete the election of National Committeewoman. Maybe they'd eventually get their act together, but recent performance is not encouraging. For that reason alone, I oppose
In my opinion, it is also unfair to a party that does conduct its own nominating process that someone who did not win the party's nomination can still run in the open primary as a member of that party, despite not being that party's chosen nominee. That is too confusing to voters in the primary.
The fact that the Arizona Republic has unleashed its liberal brigade in a united effort to obstruct voter's choices is the clearest indicator of the importance of this initiative to the left. It is, in fact, a very bad idea. We recommend a
The country is suffering through one of the greatest Constitutional crises in our history because our representatives in congress passed the Health Care Act while not knowing what was in it. This initiative is similar in that regard.
A great number of United States citizens call ourselves political conservatives because we believe in preserving that which is good in our culture and welcoming the new when we are convinced that the new policy will truly advance the common good for all citizens.
That is why we cherish our Constitution so greatly and are dismayed at how ill-conceived new ideas have so disabled the founding principles our forefathers enshrined in the Constitution to direct us. Likewise, we are gravely concerned about the problems inherent in this initiative. For example, how will partisan precinct committeemen be elected in non-partisan elections? Will another unelected committee decide?
The game is in the initiative's name "Open Election/Open Government." Names chosen for their appeal to focus groups i.e.: Independent Redistricting, Judicial Merit Selection and Clean Elections, do not consider the electorate's best interest - rather the proponent's special interests. Our free and Constitutional elections should not be undermined by zealots seeking to revamp the process put in place by our nation's Founders.
We have an excellent system now for electing our candidates which has stood the test of time for a hundred and fifty years. It would be foolish to throw it all away on a whim from someone's political grab bag. Please vote
1. Under this initiative, candidates will be able to
2. This initiative could
4. The non-partisan Joint Legislative Budget Committee has determined that, if passed, this ballot measure will cost the counties an additional $440,000 to $2 Million. That means counties will likely have to raise taxes or cut services to pay for it.
5. This proposal hasn't worked well in any state where it has been tried. Which leads me to wonder why the backers of this initiative spent nearly $1 million just to get it on the ballot and will likely spend millions more just to convince you this is a good idea.
While Arizona Advocacy Network agrees with the authors of this proposition that Arizona's election system should be reformed, this constitutional amendment has serious flaws. First, it could lead to general elections that narrow the options of voters to 2 candidates of the same party. Imagine a general election featuring only two Democrats in East Mesa or only two Republicans in Tucson. This type of scenario has happened in California, which passed a similar measure in 2010. Under this system, voters are less likely to find independent candidates on the general election ballot, thus reducing public debate and voter choice. This system will also protect incumbents because they have the advantage of high name recognition and fundraising contacts. Campaigns will rely more heavily on big money interests and might lead to a less accountable and less responsive government for the people. There are better ways to improve our primary elections without reducing voter choice in the general election for our federal, state, county and local officials. Arizona Advocacy Network urges you to
The Home Builders Association of Central Arizona respects the opportunities for all the citizens of Arizona to engage in the political process which encourages participation by the voters of Arizona. This encourages a debate that ensures that issues that are important to the citizens of Arizona are addressed through their informed vote at the ballot box.
Prop 121 will allow all Arizonans, regardless of party affiliate, to vote in a single primary election for the candidates of their choice with the top two vote getters advancing to the general election. This ballot measure eliminates the current system of party affiliation and leaves third party candidates struggling to compete with major party candidates to advance to the general election.
Candidates may chose to leave their party affiliation off the ballot leaving the voters uninformed as to a candidate's basic fundamental beliefs. This may result in candidates who voters know little about with respect to their underlying beliefs or agendas advancing to the General.
Arizona has had a number of ideas over the years that will "fix" our political problems like clean elections, restricting contribution limits, and redistricting, yet we still have them. Prop 121 is another ill advised political experiment that will damage Arizona and further reduce voter turnout.
I have run for public office five times in Arizona. Each time I have run as a third party candidate with very little chance of being elected to office. Yet I have run. Why? Because the election process isn't just about winning and losing office. It's about a marketplace for ideas. In each of those elections I have debated my opponents, both Republicans and Democrats. In those debates my opponents have been observant. They've watched the public response to new ideas. When I have proposed new ideas that voters have responded favorably to, my opponents have taken notice. Next thing you know, those ideas have been picked up and included in their platforms.
This process is not bad. It's good. This is a fusion of ideas. All of the ideas come together. This is what Libertarians and Greens and other third party candidates consider 'winning'. The election process is a marketplace of ideas; and winning is about more than just being elected to office.
The adoption of the proposed initiative would effectively eliminate third-party - Libertarian, Green, and Americans Elect - participation in this fusion process. It would be the worst thing that could happen to the incorporation of new ideas and solutions into the political process.
It also does not abolish taxpayer funded primary elections. The taxpayers will still be paying for a primary election. The only difference is that there will be a maximum of two parties represented in the general election.
This could, and probably will in some cases, result in 2 candidates of the same political party opposing each other in a general election. Under the current system the number of choices in the general election is only restricted by the candidates that win in the primary election of each recognized political party, and "independents" who qualify for the general election by collecting enough valid signatures.
"Open Government Initiative" is nothing of the sort. If truth-in-labeling were required, "Incumbent Protection Act" might be a proper title, and fewer choices for Arizona voters will be its effect. After all, who but those who wish to reduce your choices would spend over half-a-million to pull this bait-and-switch on the voters? The public won't be told who actually paid for this, because vast majority of the spent money has been borrowed, and the required campaign finance disclosures won't tell you in time who is actually paying the way -- but you can bank on the fact that they are
It will limit choices. Under the current system, political parties are free to field as many candidates as they wish with the understanding that only one of them will proceed to the general election. Under the new system, only one candidate will be nominated for fear that support would be split preventing any of their candidates from making it to the general. This will effectively exclude a significant amount of potential candidates from seeking public office which will leave voters with fewer options when selecting their representatives.
It will hurt ethnic minorities . Under the current system, Arizona's ethnic minority voters may join whatever party best represents their political leanings, thus assuring representation in the general election. Under the proposed system, minority voters will be at a disadvantage when trying to advance their candidate of choice to the top two. In Arizona, the effect will be an institutionalized suppression of Latino candidates and votes.
It will decrease voter turnout . As we saw the "Top 2" Primary dramatically reduce voter efficacy in California, it has been proven that this system yields a remarkably lower turnout. This makes logical sense as the first and second finishers are likely to have similar or even indiscernible political platforms. With no significant policy or philosophically based differences between the two candidates, the desire of voters to participate in the general election will be considerably diminished.
Prop 121 would lead to general elections in which the two candidates are both members of the same political party, denying voters of other political parties a choice. Third-party and small-party candidates will be shut out of the general election process entirely.
States are required to create new legislative districts every ten years to ensure that the state legislature accurately represents the voters of the state. Prop 121 would allow a political party with a small number of voters in a legislative district to win a seat by running one candidate while the other parties run several, splitting their party's vote. Thus, a heavily Republican district would be represented by a Democrat, or vice versa.
Prop 121 removes the statutory requirement that legislative vacancies be filled with a member of the same political party, disenfranchising those voters who successfully elected a member of their preferred political party.
1. It greatly limits your choice of candidates. In some districts Republicans will either have to vote for one of two Democrats or not vote in a race at all and vice versa. Third party candidates will be shut out of the general election process entirely.
2. Campaigns will be longer and more expensive because this proposal effectively requires candidates to run in a preliminary general election to be one of the top two to run in the regular general election.
7. For many years Arizona election law has wisely required that both major political parties be represented by poll workers and election observers in order to avoid election fraud. If this proposal passes that requirement is gone.
Join Arizona Voters and SAVE OUR VOTE! VOTE NO on the Top Two/Jungle Primary Initiative!
When failed politicians and special interest can't win at the ballot box they work the system to try and change it to their advantage. This is exactly what this group is trying accomplish. It's up to us, the voters of Arizona, to say
The Open Primary Initiative is an open invitation to disaster. It will not do what it promises, but will, instead, make matters worse. First, we are told it will increase voter participation. False. No state with an open primary has seen increased voter turnout because of open primaries and who are they to tell me how or when to exercise my right to vote? Second, we are told we will see better candidates to choose from in a General Election. That has not proved true. In Egypt, extremist candidates from the Muslim Brotherhood and a former official from the last dictator's regime made it to the General Election out of an Open Primary. Think it can't happen here? In Louisiana, voters got to choose between a Grand Wizard of the
None of these things are likely to occur; indeed it is likely just the opposite will occur. Indeed, our politics will be more fractured as only the most strident voices will be likely to capture the intensity of their committed voters in multiple candidate elections. Think Italy, Greece, and Egypt.
As candidates are forced to run election campaigns that require messages to the whole body of voters twice, a premium will be put on fundraising to finance the higher number of voter communications. This will increase, not decrease, the influence of those with money.
As party identification becomes less important, fewer people will be engaged in a process of government that has served as a force for stability in our country since its founding. Indeed, lower turnouts have in fact been witnessed in jungle primary states.
Arizona's democracy is under attack by the so-called "Open Elections/Open Government" initiative, sometimes called the "Top Two Primary." The fact is that this initiative is just another political scheme calculated to take over Arizona government by making it harder and, for voters in many areas, impossible to elect the candidates of their choice.
The Top Two "jungle" primary will result in fewer choices where it matters the most, in general elections, and allow the most extreme candidates to win. Say no to this election scheme . Vote NO on Top Two!
Election science has mathematically proven - and real-world experience has confirmed - that our current voting system, plurality voting, is a very poor way for voters to choose representatives. It gives us few choices and often allows less-preferred candidates to be elected over more-preferred ones. However, Top-Two Runoff is not the reform we are looking for. It doesn't fix the worst problems of plurality voting and it has theoretical problems of its own. Much more robust voting systems have been discovered, including Approval Voting, Score Voting, Majority Judgment, and Condorcet Voting. We recommend voting against Top-Two Runoff and instead working toward the day we can implement a modern election method that is truly a step forward.
There is one interesting side effect of this act. The way it is written, it eliminates the constitutional requirement for every election to have a primary and replaces it with a primary structure only for partisan primaries. This would mean that cities would, for the first time, be constitutionally permitted to try one-round election systems such as Approval Voting, Score Voting, Majority Judgment, Condorcet Voting, and Instant Runoff in local, nonpartisan elections. While this would be a very positive development, we do not believe that passing Top-Two Runoff is the ideal way to achieve it.
Division 1 College Football relies on the BCS poll to decide the top two teams for the Championship Game. Fans have decried the lack of a playoff system for decades and would prefer a Division II type of playoff system. In politics, Arizona's Primary elections are the "Playoff" for the General Election "Championship". This change to the Arizona State Constitution would replace our political "Playoff" system with the equivalent of the
Furthermore, the General Election would offer
The Arizona Green Party (AZGP) recommends a "NO" vote on the "Open Elections/Open Government Act", an initiative that amends the state constitution. We have partisan primaries here in Arizona so that party members may elect candidates they believe will best represent their interests/values in the General Election. And, Arizona's Open Primary Law allows registered Independents/Party Not Designated voters and members of a party without ballot recognition to vote in the partisan Primary Election of their choice (the exception being the Libertarian Party, which has a closed Primary). Since the majority of Legislative Districts (28 out of 30) and Congressional Districts (8 out of 9) are either "majority-Democrat" or "majority-Republican", this initiative cannot guarantee "a level playing field for all voters and candidates". In those "majority" districts, the top 2 candidates moving on to the General Election could be from the same political party. Alternative party (Americans Elect, Constitution, Green & Libertarian) and Independent candidates would essentially be eliminated from the General Election. Historically, voter turnout is generally higher in the General Election than in the Primaries, yet this initiative reduces the choices that voters have in the General Election to only the "Top Two". This initiative will not save taxpayer dollars, since there will still be a Primary Election. This initiative cannot guarantee that only "moderate" candidates will move on to the General Election. Similar laws already exist in California, Louisiana & Washington State with no evidence of a moderating influence. Arizona voters deserve more choices, more options during the General Election, not fewer. Vote NO on the "Open Elections/Open Government Act". Visit http://azgp.org , to learn more about the Arizona Green Party, and our position on other ballot measures. Thank you.
Proposition 121 is another failed election reform. It will require Arizona to conduct elections like they do in California. It will remove your opportunity to vote in your selected primary for your selected candidate. In rural Arizona we work hard for the leaders we support - no matter which political party they belong to. Our current election system only needs more active and hardworking voters - it does not need another failed California reform.
Another quick-fix scheme for everything that supposedly ails us is on this year's ballot. Its proponents call it "Open Elections." Detractors call it the "jungle primary," because it's dark, scary, and dangerous.
Fortunately, we don't have to guess at the consequences. California adopted this scheme and had its first "open primary" this spring. It was a disaster. California's experience suggests that a more truthful name for this proposition would be:
The Choice Suppression Act : In the general election, voters get only two choices, no matter how many candidates want to run. Many times they will be from the same party. In California this November, in one of every five elections both candidates come from the same party, meaning no real choice for voters.
The Incumbent Protection Act: No surprise that incumbents with high name identification fare well in the first round. As a result, in California every single incumbent advanced to the November election, all but four placing first in the opening round.
The Abolish Independents and Third Parties Act : Only 7 candidates who are not Democrats or Republicans will be on the California ballot this fall--compared to 125 two years ago. Want to vote for an independent, Libertarian, or Green Party candidate? Forget it.
No one loves our current electoral system. But everyone treasures our democracy and the fact that every November, in most elections we have a choice among Democrats, Republicans, independents, and third-party candidates. If we junk that system in favor of this latest utopian scheme, we will regret it. Let's keep this bad idea on the California side of the border: vote no .
The existing party nomination process is the best way to hold politicians accountable for the jobs they are doing. Today, each of Arizona's parties nominates the candidate their voting members choose, and these candidates then compete against each other in the General Election. It is the best way for candidates to fully share their views with voters, it is the best way to ensure politicians keep their promises, and it's the only way to make sure voters have truly different candidates to choose from in the General Election.
If there were only two candidates on the ballot, elections would become more about ego and personality and less about good ideas and the important issues that affect us all. And it is likely that the incumbent officeholder would always be on the General Election ballot, giving voters only one other choice
This amendment would encourage mischief by allowing candidates to hide their position on the issues from the public, ruining every voter's chance to learn more about candidates they prefer. And candidates could potentially switch parties at the last minute, or even conceal their party affiliation, further alienating voters. This proposal demeans the rights of people to associate with and select candidates who share their views, and tramples upon the rights of all voters to nominate the leaders of their choice.
I urge voters to see through the myths of the so-called Open Elections, Open Government or "Top-Two" measure. It's more accurately described as creating a "Jungle Primary." Focus on the facts. The facts are that the Jungle Primary initiative is nothing more than a series of empty promises that will decrease voter choice and increase the influence of special interests, among other devastating and even unknown consequences.
Fact: In California's Congressional District 31, a district where Democrats hold a voter registration advantage, the recent primary election saw four Democrats and two Republicans on the ballot. The result? The four Democrats split the Democratic vote and the two Republicans advanced to the General Election. The Jungle Primary actually limited voter choice because two Republicans will be the only choice in the General Election. Many voters in that district won't have the choice to vote for someone who shares their values. Jungle Primary is no choice at all.
My Father used to say, "Don't fix what's not broken". Bad legislation and bad initiatives often masquerade under the banner of a noble cause. This extreme initiative is called Open Elections, Open Government and sounds so good. But it's
This initiative weakens and destroys Arizona's third parties and unfairly limits voter choices to
candidates in the general election. As for Open Government, this proposition falsely leads one to believe it will affect the way government operates; it has
You will fall for the falsehoods promoted by the proponents of this initiative if you don't look further. What this scheme really does is eliminate the current successful primary system we've used for decades.
The current system allows like-minded people to unite behind candidates which best represent the voters point-of-view most effectively. It also allows for an effective vetting process and critical support system for the selected candidate. Under the current system, voters have multiple choices during the general election. These many candidates represent a wide variety of political opinions. (THIS INITATIVE CHOKES VOTERS DOWN TO ONLY ONE OR TWO POINTS-OF-VIEW!)
The proposed initiative eliminates our vetting process currently in place and would be the death-knell for all but the two largest parties. This would eliminate the voice of everyone else. This questionable initiative shifts political power from the hands of the voter to those candidates who cater to big business. Because of the funding, big business decides which two candidates advance to the general election.
THIS IS NOT A GRASS ROOTS EFFORT but rather politics as usual by those that can't win straight-up elections, so they resort to manipulating the system. With nearly one million dollars spent gathering signatures by paid out-of-state solicitors, please don't tell voters this is a grass roots initiative. In fact, big business , big labor , academia, and big money injected huge amounts of cash into this effort with plenty more on the way.
In 2008, in the heavily Democrat State of Oregon, voters soundly REJECTED their own top-two initiative 66% to 34% because the truth was revealed by the media. With an initiative so soundly defeated in Oregon why would big business , big labor , academia , and big money even try to introduce it in Arizona? Interesting question, interesting answer... follow the money.
Donors and backers look like the Who's Who of the Arizona elite. Those with money and those in power are changing the election system to manipulate the outcome of our elections to keep themselves in power. It's an attempt to diminish the average citizen's voice in choosing candidates to represent them in all levels of Arizona and AZ representation in the federal government.
Just look at the results in states that have already implemented this system. In Louisiana, the state with the longest top-two record, the voters have only been able to unseat 1 incumbent under top-two. For a brief time they discontinued the use of top-two and when voters unseated 5 incumbents the legislators quickly put top-two back into place in fear of their own election defeat. The Washington State Democrat chairman says he has to talk to candidates to convince them NOT to run in order to increase the chances of democrats appearing on the general election ballot. Most recently in California the number of voters turning out for the primary election actually decreased, rather than increase as the initiative promised.
And that may be the key. It isn't the voting system that's broken, it's the lack of discussion between candidates that fails to energize voters to get to the polls. The elitists know this. In a promise to produce more "moderate" candidates, what will motivate voters to actually get out to vote. Nothing! If electing candidate A over candidate B produces the same type of results then it doesn't matter which candidate gets more votes, the voters end up with the same politician that won't truly represent them in government.
Here's a preview of the "new and better" way to conduct primary elections in Arizona. This same scheme of primary elections has been tried in various states with the same disastrous outcome - confusion, exclusivity and failure.
In California, the initiative was recently passed and employed for the first time in 2010. The outcome was 6% of the ballots cast were disqualified because voters were confused with the process. California experienced the lowest voter turnout in its' entire history.
Washington state has fallen prey to this gimmick and has resulted in the transformation into the second most partisan election in the country - second only to California! In Washington, as a result of (123) state legislative races, (8) state office races, and (8) U.S. House races, only (1) incumbent lost!
Given the startling outcome of this contorted scheme in
I could go on endlessly about the travesty which this un-needed change promises to bring to the great state of Arizona, but it is clear from the tried-and-failed history of this system that it should be
The number of candidates who appear on the general election ballot would be limited to the two who receive the most votes. In order to win, candidates would have to put forward only those views that appeal to the middle of the road voter. Candidates representing a wide spectrum of ideas enrich the American political debate and the all deserve representation in the general election. The Top Two system denies these candidates a place in the general election, diluting the promise of free speech for all.
If no party preference is declared on a candidate's registration form, no preference would be listed on the petition and ballots . Party preference may or may not appear on the ballot. Party affiliation tells us something about the candidate; voters deserve to have this information.
When registering to vote, voters would be allowed to state any party preference in their own words and would not be limited to selecting from a list of recognized political parties or affiliations. This is a recipe for chaos! If we make a change let's be sure it's for the better.
The proposition leaves to future Legislatures and governing bodies a number of issues, i.e. access to the voter database, handling vacancies, percentage of votes that will determine the number of petition signatures required to qualify for the ballot. These items need to be settled before we vote on it.
Don't be fooled. This initiative effectively blocks candidates who are not Republican or Democrat from making it onto your General Election ballot. Smaller parties and Independent candidates will not have the votes needed to make the "top two" and will not have the opportunity to win. Even worse, they won't even have the opportunity to try to win. Americans love choices and we ought to have lots of them, especially in our politics and candidates. Telling Arizonans that they are only allowed to have two candidates to choose from is un-American. This initiative discriminates against smaller parties and Independents. It actually will discriminate against Republicans and Democrats too. Because most districts are very Republican or very Democrat, voters in those districts will have two candidates from the same party to choose from. In roughly 20 of Arizona's 30 legislative district, you won't even have two parties to choose from, so Democrats in Republican districts will only have two Republicans to choose from and Republicans in Democrat districts will only have two Democrats to choose from.
This initiative will decrease voter turnout. Arizona already has very high turnout relative to other states. Arizona's 2010 primary turnout was more than 30% while California's first primary under these new rules was 15%. And it makes sense. If you offer voters fewer choices they will be less interested. Our system is not perfect, but it is far superior to this new scheme. Supporters of this initiative say they want to change the rules because they want to change the type of candidate who wins, but rigging the rules to ensure that only a specific type of candidate can win is un-American and very dangerous for Arizona.
(This proposition was brought to the ballot by those who are frustrated by the outcome of past elections. They think if they can change the system, they can manipulate voters into electing candidates more to their liking.
This is an attempt to deceive voters and cause chaos. Backers of this proposition want to make it more difficult for voters to determine which candidate they politically and philosophically align with. All non-party-designated voters in Arizona can already vote in the Primary by requesting the ballot they want.
This proposition will weaken parties because it will obscure party affiliation and candidate values. The purpose of the primary is for people with common philosophies to come together and elect their choice of candidate for the general election. This results in a general election that offers a variety of candidates with different philosophies. But with a wide-open primary, you could very well end up with candidates from the same party and the same ideology, leaving no choice for the voter.
A nonpartisan primary system has been tried in only a few states and has not demonstrated any substantial success as a way of electing good candidates for office. It has, however, achieved low voter turnout. What this proposition guarantees is that the candidate with the biggest political machine behind them will be the winner. I OPPOSE THIS PROPOSITION .)
Do not be dazzled by its purposely deceptive name, "Open Elections/Open Government" does not promote either statement; it creates a pure Democracy. We already have a
election that "allows all Arizonans, regardless of party, to vote for the candidate of their choice." This intuitive merely prevents voters the ability to
In a Democrat dominate district, this would prevent Republicans from getting into office. In a Republican dominate district, this would prevent Democrats from getting into office. In
to hear what the Democrats have to say from
their own elected Candidate
, what the Republicans have to say from theirs, what the Libertarian, Green Party and Independents have to say, etc... Everyone brings important ideas to the table,
For generations, America has been well served by our current system, which allows voters of the same political party to choose who will represent them in a general election. A vast majority of Americans belong to a political party, which gives them a voice in their party platform and a vote in local and national policymaking.
Prop 121 eliminates this longstanding method of governance and replaces it with an open-primary system similar to what is used in Europe, where parliaments and presidents change so frequently it's hard to keep track of who is in charge.
For me and other lawmakers, this is not about holding onto power. For years, I was elected in a Democrat district, even though I am a Republican. I want voters to know my party registration so they can make an informed decision about who best represents their interests.
Voters will have fewer choices because only the top two vote getters advance to the general election ballot. Currently it's possible for an Independent, Libertarian, or third party candidate to qualify for the general election ballot. A top-two system means the days of an Independent candidate appearing on the general election ballot are over.
Voters will have less access and less connection to their government because the top-two system discourages voter participation. In the states that have the top-two system voter turnout has not gone up, it has gone down.
Finally, sham candidacies will become the norm. Recently, there's been media coverage of sham candidates appearing on the ballot in cynical attempts to draw votes from other candidates. This measure makes it a constitutional right for any individual to self-describe themselves on the ballot. Think about that. An arch-liberal will be able to claim they are a Republican, and that designation will appear on the ballot. The possibilities for fraud on the voters are endless.
The Ballot Format displayed in
HTML reflects only the text of the Ballot Proposition and does not
reflect how it will appear on the General Election Ballot.