Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

Will open primaries shake up politics in Arizona– and the West?

Precinct voting sign (Image Credit: Pamela Powers Hannley)

When Americans are unhappy in an election year, they often adopt a ‘throw-the-bums-out’ attitude toward incumbent politicians. In 2008, the Democrats seized control of all three branches of government. In 2010, Americans threw dozens of Democratic ‘bums’ out, and many Tea Party-leaning Republicans went to Congress for the first time. In 2012, Congress’ nearly complete gridlock and 9 percent approval rating hint at another throw-the-bums-out year.

But does this cycle of alternatively sweeping Democrats or Republicans out of office really accomplish anything? Are voters getting what they want from government or just crossing their fingers and venting their anger at the ballot box?

Under our current electoral system, political parties have a greater voice in government than voters, and that has contributed to “partisan sniping and gridlock,” according to Open Elections/Open Government (OE/OG), a bipartisan group of Arizonans who are working to place an open primaries initiative on the November 2012 ballot.

Disaffected voters believe elected officials are beholden not to them but to political party bosses and lobbyists, and this belief leads voters to lose faith in government, the OE/OG website claims.

Open primaries — where all candidates regardless of party affiliation are listed on one ballot — would give voters, rather than political parties, a greater voice in government, says Ted Downing, Ph.D., research professor of social development in the Arizona Research Laboratories at the University of Arizona and one of the initiative’s architects.

“Taxpayers pay for elections [party primaries] that limit their choices,” says Downing. Independents — a rapidly growing group of registered voters in Arizona — are “grossly discriminated against” under our current system, which favors the two major parties.

For the rest of this story from the Huffington Post, go here.

2 comments on “Will open primaries shake up politics in Arizona– and the West?

  1. Tip O'Neill
    February 1, 2012

    Independents are secret Repubs that don’t want to admit it.
    Personally I like to know what party a candidate belongs to, it is an easy way for voters to know what they stand for. 


  2. sethers
    February 1, 2012

    Tune into California’s upcoming primaries to see if this works.


Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on February 1, 2012 by in 2012 elections, Arizona, democracy, Politics, reform, Tucson and tagged , , .
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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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