The Republican-controlled Arizona legislature will consider a constitutional amendment that would close all statewide primary elections. HCR 2014, introduced by Republican State Representatives Brenda Barton, Drew John, Jay Lawrence, Becky Nutt, and Kevin Payne, reads:
“For any political party is qualified for representation on the ballot, only persons who are members of that political party may vote in that political party’s primary elections. Any person who is registered as no party preference or independent as the party preference or who is registered with a political party that is not qualified for representation on the ballot may NOT vote in the primary election of any one of the political parties that is qualified for the ballot.”
Arizona currently uses semi-closed primary elections, where voters not affiliated with a political party can vote in the partisan primary of their choice. Registered members of a recognized political party can only vote in their party’s primary.
If the this constitutional amendment is implemented, the largest voting bloc in Arizona — independent voters — would lose their right to vote in publicly-funded and administered primary elections. There are 1.3 million registered independents in Arizona.
“The Republicans openly stated they changed the ballot access laws in 2015 to prevent Libertarians and Independents from appearing on the ballot,” says Kevin McCormick, Libertarian candidate for governor.
McCormick, who was recently interviewed by IVN correspondent Lindsay France about his campaign, is a part of a lawsuit challenging the new ballot access rules. The lawsuit is currently in the appeals process.
He added, “After stopping third party and independents from appearing on the ballot, the established parties passed multiple laws to prevent voter ballot initiatives and now they are trying to silence independent voters.”
This story is getting zero coverage in Arizona right now. Stay tuned for further developments on this story and more information on McCormick’s lawsuit.