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Open elections/open government act


  • Legislative Council analysis:

    Beginning with the 2014 elections, Proposition ___ would amend the Arizona Constitution by eliminating the longstanding primary election that allows each recognized political party in Arizona to select its own nominee for the general election. In its place would be a primary election system in which registered voters may vote for candidates regardless of political affiliation. A funding source has not been identified that will pay the cost of the open top two primary election that will replace the current system. Additionally, the number of candidates who appear on the general election ballot would be limited to only the two who receive the most votes and any qualified write-in candidates, except that, for any office to which more than one candidate shall be elected, the number of candidates who will compete in the general election shall be the number of candidates to be elected times two. Currently, all candidates who receive the most votes in their party primary appear on the general election ballot. This often results in more than two candidates appearing on the general election ballot.

    Proposition ___ would not apply to the election of United States President, nor to any office for which political party affiliation may not appear on the ballot.

    Under Proposition ___, the signature requirement for candidates wishing to run in the open primary election for an office would be based on the total votes cast for all candidates for that office at the previous general election and would be the same for all candidates regardless of party affiliation or lack of affiliation. Each candidate who declared a party preference on their voter registration form would have that preference listed, up to twenty characters, on the nominating petition and on the primary and general election ballots. If no party preference is declared on a candidate's registration form, no preference would be listed on the petition and ballots. All government-issued voter education materials and ballots would contain a notice that any political party registration listed for a candidate is not an indication that the candidate has been nominated or endorsed by that political party.

    Proposition ___ provides that individuals may organize or join political parties and that political parties may elect party officers, support or oppose candidates and otherwise participate in all elections, if the party activity is not paid for or subsidized using public funds. All voters, candidates and political parties must be treated equally, regardless of party affiliation or lack of affiliation. When registering to vote, voters would be allowed to state any party preference in their own words and would not be limited to selecting from a list of recognized political parties or affiliations.

    The proposition leaves to future Legislatures and governing bodies a number of issues, including who will have access to the statewide voter database, how vacancies will be handled, what percentage of votes will be set each year as the number of petition signatures required by each candidate for each office to qualify for the ballot, how to pay for the two tier election and how to pay for the cost of implementation and conforming legislation. The Department of Justice must pre-clear any changes.

    Proposition language:

    (C-03-2012)

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ARIZONA LEGISLATIVE REPORT