Posted by Al Benninghoff on March 28, 2016 at 12:44 PM
Open Primaries Arizona Statement on the Recent Presidential Primary
Last Tuesday's Presidential Preference primary was a disgrace. The long lines at the polls and countless examples of Arizonans not being able to cast ballots have been cataloged by many, as has the fact that independent voters, 37% of registered voters in Arizona, were not even eligible to cast a ballot!
At the very moment when Arizonans stepped forward to be heard, the system failed them.
Voter suppression takes many forms: Long lines. Incompetent administration. Arbitrary registration deadlines. Archaic voter identification requirements. But these barriers, while serious, pale in comparison to the impact that closed, partisan primaries have on the ability of hundreds of thousands of people in our state to cast a ballot. Arizona shouldn’t have different rules for different voters. We must protect the right to vote for all Americans and bring our politics into the 21st century.
Open Primaries Arizona has been working for the last year to organize voters and popularize the need for primary reform. We've been knocking on doors, visiting community groups, and making thousands of phone calls.
We know Arizonans want to change the status quo.
30,000 Arizonans—Democrats, Republicans and independents—signed our petition demanding that the Democratic and Republican Party chairs open up the Presidential Preference primary to all the voters – a petition that was ignored by party leaders until it was too late.
75% of Latino voters we surveyed believe that elected officials are mainly loyal to their party, not their constituents, and 93% support changes to the electoral system that would foster more accountability.
50% of millennials identify as politically independent and are refusing to join a political party. Our political system has not adapted. The practice of excluding independent voters from the first round of elections will have a devastating impact on future participation in our state, as the trend among voters—most pronounced among millennials—to register to vote as independents increases.
The current system is designed to make life easier for partisan insiders at the expense of the voters - all voters. We just saw first-hand the consequences of this failed arrangement last Tuesday.
For Arizonans fed up with the partisan paralyses of our government, election reform offers real hope for the future. The time has come to level the playing field and enact a fair and open primary system. Open Primaries Arizona is dedicated to ensuring that every eligible citizen can go to the polls and cast a ballot that counts. We CAN reform our democracy. Join us at openprimariesaz.org