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(Arizona) – Partisan leaders on both sides have finally found something they agree on. From far right partisan Republicans like Russel Pearce, Robert Graham, and Governor Jan Brewer, to partisan Democratic State Sen. Steve Gallardo, the threat of a political process under Proposition 121 that would encourage candidates to appeal to a broader constituency, has brought two otherwise enemies together.
A representative democracy can only survive when the most people can participate in a meaningful manner. Today, only partisan Republican and partisan Democratic voters really matter. Most people are familiar with gerrymandering, but less truly understand the primary electoral system.
Proposition 121 changes the primary system from a party-controlled system to a non-partisan one. Instead of the primary being for the purpose of electing party leaders to represent a given team on the general election ballot, all candidates and all voters would participate in a single primary, where the top-two candidates that represent everybody would move on to the November election.
Proposition 121 is a voter-centric, rather than Party-centric system. California adopted a similar system in 2010, and in its first year of implementation, and contrary to the arguments made by the partisans in Arizona, the state has gone from the least to the most competitive elections in the country.
Democracy functions best when the most people can participate meaningfully. Proposition 121 makes candidates more accountable to more people. It’s not about voter turnout. It’s not about independent candidates. It’s not about any of the superficial arguments made by the partisans lining up to oppose the measure.
Proposition 121 is about ending partisanship. It’s about candidates looking at you as a voter. Not a member of a team.
Here’s an Explanation of Proposition 121