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AZ Campaign to Adopt Nonpartisan Elections Suspended after Key Donor Drops Out

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Correction note: This article originally said that Open Primaries spent $300,000 in support of the donation disclosure initiative. It was the coalition in support of both initiatives. The article has been corrected.

Salon reported Thursday that a campaign to adopt nonpartisan elections in Arizona suspended its efforts after a major donor dropped out.

Texas billionaire John Arnold had contributed at least $1 million in support of the campaign to adopt a nonpartisan, top-two open primary similar to the systems in California and Washington state through the organization Open Primaries. He later learned that nearly half of his donations were going toward another initiative.

This second ballot measure would require that groups who spend money to influence elections disclose any donations exceeding $10,000. The coalition in support of both initiatives spent $300,000 of his donations in support of this initiative.

Arnold voiced his opposition to this funding and $178,000 of his donation was returned this week. The two former Phoenix mayors who were benefiting from Arnold’s contributions have suspended their campaign in support of the nonpartisan, top-two primary until they can find alternate sources of funds.

Read the full article here.

Photo Credit: Niyazz / shutterstock.com

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wow. that was unexpected.


Please, authors, do not refer to a system that has party labels on the ballot as a "non-partisan" system.  It is bad writing to refer to two different things with the same term.  If a system that has party labels on the ballot is called a "non-partisan" election, then what is the right term for an election without party labels on the ballot?

Albert P
Albert P

@RichardWinger If there are not party ballots, then it is not a partisan election. If all candidates and voters participate on a level playing field, that is a nonpartisan election. This might be hard to fathom, but in this case a top-two primary that allows party labels to be listed and a top-two primary that does not include party labels are both nonpartisan because  the system is designed not to select party nominees but to narrow the field down to the two most viable candidates, regardless of party, and does not condition participation on party affiliation or permission from the parties to participate. It is unfortunate that you go to the lengths to call it bad writing just because you look at the issue differently and are, quite frankly, wrong.