The Arizona Capitol Times recently aired the views of Mr. Robert Graham, chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, concerning the fledgling effort by Arizona citizens to place an initiative on the 2016 ballot to reform our state’s election laws. Mr. Graham’s blatant attempt to mislead and frighten Arizona voters must not go unanswered.
Mr. Graham characterizes the forthcoming 2016 reform effort as nothing more than a plot by losing liberal candidates to tilt Arizona’s election system to give them a better chance of winning. Using a quintessential political ploy, he cites the involvement of Paul Johnson and Terry Goddard as proof of this specious claim.
I am a registered independent who strongly supports open nonpartisan elections and full disclosure of campaign contributions. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a candidate for public office. But I am a former, duly elected, Republican precinct committeeman. I am volunteering in the effort to place a reform initiative on the 2016 ballot because the current political parties represent the parties’ interests, not the interests of average voters. Party leaders, in particular, have a commitment to ideology rather than a commitment to governing.
I’m sure Mr. Graham is aware that independents now account for 36 percent of Arizona voters, surpassing both Republicans and Democrats. I suspect he also knows what a recent Arizona State University study found: that 46.8 percent of registered Republicans would consider changing their party registration to independent. These factors explain Mr. Graham’s deceptive comments, which are insulting to thousands of Arizonans who are disgusted with partisan politics.
The reality is Mr. Graham is fearful that his empire is crumbling.
— James W. Morrison Jr. lives in Tucson.