Arizona's primary election system will not get a makeover after voter's rejected a ballot initiative.
Under Proposition 121, of the Open Elections Open Government initiative, the two top finishers in the primary election would advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation. And voters, regardless of party affiliation, could vote for any candidate. [Read the full proposition]
"It ends the current system of taxpayer-funded partisan primaries, and gives independent voters and candidates an equal voice in the election process," Open Government Committee Chairman Paul Johnson said.
Other supporters included the Southern Arizona Leadership Council and the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Opponents, like the Maricopa County Republican Committee, said 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," said committee Chairman Robert Haney.
The League of Woman Voters of Arizona has said there is a better way.
"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 as our election system," according to the league's president, Barbara Klein of Scottsdale.
The initiative would have amend Article VII of the Arizona Constitution relating to direct primary election law.
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