Proposition 121 is attempting to bring California-style primary elections to Arizona

Voters in doubt about how to vote on Proposition 121 should look to our neighbor to the west and decide if they want California-style primary elections in Arizona.  The California top two primary system is similar to the one proposed in Proposition 121.  All candidates and voters would participate in one primary; the top two finishers in the primary would face off in the general election.

Party primaries would be abolished. What is more, political parties would be prohibited from engaging in any candidate selection activity.

In June, California voters had their first test of top two primaries. The primaries promised increased competition among candidates, higher voter turnout, and the election of so-called moderate candidates free of partisan leanings. On all scores, the primaries failed to deliver.

The primaries left voters with fewer choices in the general election. Candidates from the same party will compete in 28 of the 153 state and federal seats on the ballot in November.

Voter turnout in June was less than 30 percent. This was the lowest turnout in California history for primaries in a presidential election year.

There was more erosion of voter choice. Third-party candidates were knocked out of the process, assuring that they would have no role in the November election.

In one district with a decided advantage in Democratic registration, too many Democrats ran and split the vote. This resulted in two Republicans finishing first and second in the primary with low vote percentages. The dominant party was shut out for November, an outcome that would never occur under a normal elections process.

This lopsided and exclusionary finish could happen to any party. Voters affiliated with the party eliminated in the primary would lose their choice in November, contributing to low voter turnout in the general election.

Arizona voters need to think twice about approving the top two primary system.  The results in California are showing that it is a flawed idea.  Proposition 121 will result in less competition among candidates and lower voter turnout. It should be defeated on November 6.

State Leaders Join the Fight Against Prop 121

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                

October 4, 2012

State Leaders Join the Fight Against Prop 121

 

PHOENIX, Ariz. – State Senator Steve Gallardo, and Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox have joined with Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery to co-chair the fight against Proposition 121.

Proposition 121 is an election system that would completely eliminate Arizona’s current system.  Under Proposition 121, party primaries would no longer exist.  Instead, Arizona would have one primary ballot in each district with the names of everyone running for an office in that district.  In this “jungle primary,” the two candidates that get the most votes would then move on to the general election, regardless of party.

“I am proud to be part of a strong bipartisan group of people who are concerned about the future of Arizona,” said County Attorney Bill Montgomery.  “Proposition 121 is simply an attempt by special interests to control our elections.”

“This proposition will result in a loss of choices for the voters.  We must not allow our elections to become a place for political schemes and corruption,” said Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.

“Money spent on elections will double here in Arizona if this proposition passes,” said Senator Steve Gallardo.  “More money in politics means less of a voice for the voter, which is what the special interests pushing this issue want.”

Honest Elections, Not Political $chemes

Vote NO on Prop 121

Proposition 121 Corrupts Arizona’s Election System

Well before Election Day, voters throughout Arizona need to get the message that Proposition 121 is a hoax, a major fraud designed to convince citizens that the measure will open the political system to more candidates and voters.

Mislabeled the Open Elections Open Government initiative, the measure does the exact opposite. It is the Closed Elections Closed Government initiative. Arizona voters must not be fooled.

A close look at Proposition 121 reveals a cynical scheme that will eliminate voter choice, foster political corruption and advance extremists by abolishing party primaries and eventually destroy political parties themselves.

Proponents of 121 want to hijack the political system so they can elect candidates of their own choosing and take candidate selection out of the hands of the voters. Unable to compete in the primary system as it exists, they propose an end to the system that has served voters well for decades.

The proposition would abolish party primaries and establish one primary open to all candidates and all voters. The top two finishers in the primary would face off in the general election. Party identification by candidates would be optional.

That is the real flaw in Proposition 121. Voters would have no way to verify the accuracy of  a candidate’s party identification. With no party primary system to verify candidate identification, the system would be open to sham candidates hand picked and financed by special interests out to fool the voters.

What is worse, millions of voters could be left with no choice in a general election if the top two primary finishers represented the same party. With nowhere to turn on Election Day, voter turnout would plummet as citizens would simply give up and stay home.

This already has happened in California where there will be 28 elections this fall with no voter choice due to top two primaries.  Contrary to top two primary advocates, voter turnout was not up in the state’s June primaries and the primaries did not produce more so-called moderate candidates.

Under Proposition 121, candidates with extreme views easily could manipulate their way into a general election. Voters need only recall how the top two system in Louisiana once produced a run off between a candidate with a history of KKK leadership and a corrupt politician who was convicted and went to jail.

Proposition 121 would give political insiders and unscrupulous consultants the vehicle they want to corrupt the candidate selection process. Special interests would pour millions into primaries to elect sham candidates.

The voters need clear choices. They need confidence in the honesty of candidate identity. They need protection against corruption in the election process.

The party primary system provides these safeguards. Proposition 121 destroys them. The measure should be soundly defeated on Election Day.