Independents Support Arizona Top-Two Open Primary Initiative

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INTERACTIONS

IndependentVoting.org, a national strategy, communications, and organizing center working to connect and empower the 40% of Americans who identify themselves as independents, has begun conducting a survey to educate and activate Arizona voters about Proposition 121, the Top-Two Open Primary Initiative.

Early results show that when independents learn about Prop 121 and how top-two open primaries work, by allowing independents to vote in the first and often decisive round of voting, they strongly support it. 84% said they plan to vote yes on Proposition 121 after hearing the specifics of the measure.

“Not only do independents as a whole support ‘Top Two’,” said Nancy Ross, Director of National Organizing at IndependentVoting.org, “but a majority of independents are eager to help spread the word. 69% of the voters we’ve polled responded ‘yes’ when asked if they would e-mail their networks encouraging them to support Proposition 121. Independent voters recognize that Top Two open primaries are a reform whose time has come.”

Other results from the survey:

  • 91% of those surveyed say that independents should be able to register as “independent” as opposed to “other,” which is the current designation on the voter registration form.
  • 39% of Proposition 121 supporters responded ‘yes’ when asked if they would distribute literature to neighbors.

“If you grumble about political gridlock (like me), and are unhappy with the state of current politics, we can do something about it, at least in Arizona,” said Kevin Johnston of Gilbert in a personalized e-mail sent to his network after being activated by the IndependentVoting.org survey. “I encourage you to vote YES on Prop 121 – the Open Elections/Open Government Top Two Open Primary Initiative. It will change the voting system from one based on the political parties to a system based on the voter…I expect we would see a change from the current climate of pandering to the factional extremes to win party nomination, then shifting to moderation in the general elections.”

Jim Morrison of Scottsdale, a former president of his local homeowners association, sent an e-mail to over 150 of his contacts stating “If you are as unhappy as I am with the hyper-partisanship that infects Arizona politics, we can do something about it.  Join me and vote YES on Proposition 121, the Open Top Two Primary Initiative.  If this initiative passes, it will change our voting system from one controlled by political bosses and lobbyists to one that gives every eligible voter a voice. Independents are the fastest growing segment of Arizona voters.  But today, Independents must request a ballot of one, and only one, of the political parties in order to vote in Arizona primaries.  Do you think this is fair?  Early voting starts on October 11th.  Please join me and vote yes on Proposition 121.”

Al Bell of Peoria e-mailed his friends and wrote a letter to the editor of his local paper. “Opponents say the current system works fine. The political parties agree. Yet, over a third of our voters are at a serious disadvantage. These growing ranks of voters are leaving the parties in frustration at the dominance of ideology over negotiation in solving our real problems. Citizens want resolution that can last instead of stalemate. Opponents say independents already have primary voting rights. Yes, if they are willing to temporarily identify with a “recognized” political party. This requirement essentially holds independents hostage to the parties, certainly a strange form of “rights.”

IndependentVoting.org will continue the survey through Election Day.

The Independent Voter Network is dedicated to providing political analysis, unfiltered news, and rational commentary in an effort to elevate the level of our public discourse.


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6 comments
Michael Higham
Michael Higham

If and when Arizona implements a top-two open primary, voters who oppose the measure could see a positive change in their political culture. It's one thing to see the measure on paper, but then to actually see it in action is different. There are some success stories so far here in CA as evidence of the top-two open primary making a positive impact.

Alex Gauthier
Alex Gauthier

Amazing. Arizona doesn't even recognize independents. That 'other' grouping has to be the largest of its kind in politics polling.

Blaz Gutierrez
Blaz Gutierrez

So important to fight for linguistic change. The 'other' label has been used for so many purposes, but it always boils down to 'not socially acceptable.' That word has a pejorative connotation that shouldn't be overlooked.

Alex Gauthier
Alex Gauthier

Amazing. Arizona doesn't even recognize independents? That 'other' grouping has to be the largest of it's kind in politics polling

Chad Peace
Chad Peace

Arizona is like California in the opposite direction in terms of partisanship. Whereas California has been taken over by the "far left", AZ's got the "far right". Not that Open Primary will necessarily bring more "moderates," it will likely produce candidates that are more responsive to the average person than the average political enthusiast.

Blake Bunch
Blake Bunch

My first reaction as well -especially since 91% of those surveyed favored a change in nomenclature.