Posted by Patrick McWhortor on May 24, 2016 at 1:50 PM
For five years, a grassroots movement has been building in Arizona for election reform - to level the playing field for all voters and candidates and end the control by the political parties over the tax-payer funded primary elections.
Open Primaries launched an effort in March, 2015 to support the growth of this movement. Working with local leaders and activists, our goal was to give Arizonans the opportunity to enact a ballot measure this November. Despite our best efforts, we failed. It is a setback. But the movement for open primaries—in Arizona and around the country—is expanding.
Arizonans from every corner of the state, from all walks of life and diverse ideological persuasions wanted to change the political rules. Our coalition included issue advocates, Latino leaders, educators, independent voter activists, business owners, and elected officials. Nothing could have put an exclamation point on the need for reform more than the March presidential preference election, where the unequal treatment of voters caused long lines, mass confusion and disenfranchisement. The people of Arizona deserve better.
And it’s not just Arizona. Millions of independents were barred from voting in the presidential primaries this year. In this hotly contested presidential contest the process itself has become a central topic of conversation. Millions of Americans recognize that the rules of the game are important and need to be changed. The conversation grows.
Open Primaries will continue to support the efforts of Arizonans who want to reform the primaries, and we hope to partner with local leadership to put the issue before the voters in the future.
The Latino community is calling for change. The education community is calling for change. The business community is calling for change. We failed to put a primary reform referendum on the ballot this year, but political change does not come easily and we are committed as ever to the long term fight.
Americans, like you, across the country are rising up and demanding changes that bring us closer to the democratic ideals of our founding. And lasting change demands sustained engagement at all levels of government. In the short term, we hope you will join and support our national campaign to pressure the Democratic and Republican Parties to conduct open primaries in all 50 states for the presidential nomination process in 2020. You can help by signing our petition and spreading the word.
John Opdycke, President, Open Primaries
Patrick McWhortor, Campaign Director, Open Primaries Arizona
Armida Lopez, Latino Outreach Coordinator, Open Primaries Arizona