Open primary has advantages for state voters
A proposition on the November ballot is proposing a revolutionary change in how primaries operate in Arizona — or is it?
Proposition 121 is the result of a petition-signing campaign around the state. It survived multiple efforts to keep Arizonans from getting a chance to vote on it and is one of only two of the nine state measures on the ballot put there by citizens rather than the state Legislature.
The goal is to establish a nonpartisan open primary election system in the state that would put an emphasis on finding the best office holders that a majority of Arizonans want rather than focusing on electing office seekers from each political party.
It would achieve this by combining all office seekers for an office on one ballot together rather than on separate party ballots. All voters together then would select the best two candidates — no matter their party affiliation, if they had one — to move on to the general election for a final vote.
While opponents have painted this as a dramatic and potentially disastrous change, in reality it is a system that is very familiar to voters because that is how all cities except one in the state pick candidates for local office, a system that many feel works very well.
Many Arizonans are already expressing their dissatisfaction with the current party system by registering as independents. It is the fastest-growing segment of the electorate. The open primary system will work well for them by giving them a full voice at the primary level, along with all other voters.
Even those who are registered with a party would likely prefer a fuller choice in the primary rather than being limited to one party, and this will give them that opportunity.
The bottom line is most voters simply want the best office holder possible, no matter their party, and the open primary system helps achieve that. It deserves our support.