Independents Support Arizona Top-Two Open Primary Initiative
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.
About the Author
Chad Peace is president of IVC Media LLC, a partner at the law firm of Peace & Shea LLP, and legal strategist for the Independent Voter Project. He is also a Founding Board Member of the National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers.