Home General Arizona Daily Sun Article Includes Some Information on Campaign Spending for and Against Arizona's Top-two Initiative
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Arizona Daily Sun Article Includes Some Information on Campaign Spending for and Against Arizona's Top-two Initiative

Published on December 16, 2012, by in General.

The second half of this article in the Arizona Daily Sun contains some information about campaign spending for and against Arizona’s Proposition 121, the top-two initiative that lost last month. The story quotes Paul Johnson, chief proponent of the initiative, as saying that he should have built a broader coalition in favor of his idea. Johnson says that is why it passed in California. Actually, it passed in California because it was described so poorly on the California ballot, and because proponents outspent opponents 20:1.

15 Responses

  1. Be Rational

    When given a choice, with the facts available and known, the people will repeal the evil “top-two” system where it has already been imposed.

    Vote for liberty.

    Repeal “top-two.”

  2. Jim Riley

    How is this poorly described?

    ELECTIONS. INCREASES RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN PRIMARY ELECTIONS.

    Encourages increased participation in elections for congressional, legislative, and statewide offices by changing the procedure by which candidates are selected in primary elections.
    Gives voters increased options in the primary by allowing all voters to choose any candidate regardless of the candidate’s or voter’s political party preference.
    Provides that candidates may choose not to have a political party preference indicated on the primary ballot.
    Provides that only the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes in the primary will appear on the general election ballot regardless of party preference.
    Does not change primary elections for President, party committee offices and nonpartisan offices.

  3. Richard Winger

    Top two systems have far more impact on the general election than on the primary election. But the California description hides that, and puts all the reader’s attention on the primary.

    Oregon did a far better job. Its ballot description for Prop. 65 in 2008 was: “Changes general election nomination processes for major/minor party, independent candidates for most partisan offices. Result of ‘yes’ vote: ‘Yes’ vote changes general election nomination processes for most partisan offices; all candidates run in single primary; top two primary candidates compete in general election. Result of ‘no’ vote: ‘No’ vote retains the current party primary election system, retains procedures for the nomination of minor political party and independent candidates to the general election.”

    The California system before Prop. 14 passed did not exclude any registered voter from voting in Democratic and Republican primaries for the offices affected by Prop. 14. The change in voter choice for the primary was small; but the change in voter choice in November was huge.

  4. Andy

    Top Two makes the primary election worse, because it means that the preferred candidate of a lot of voters will not get a chance to appear on the general election ballot.

    Primaries are supposed to be about parties choosing who their candidates will be during the general election, not shutting out every other party or candidate beyond the top top vote getters.

  5. Be Rational

    What Jim Riley Should have Said:
    December 16th, 2012 at 10:09 am

    How this should have been described:

    ELECTIONS. DECREASES RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN GENERAL ELECTIONS.

    Discourages participation in elections for congressional, legislative, and statewide offices by changing the procedure by which candidates are selected in primary elections.
    Gives voters decreased options in the primary by allowing all voters to choose any candidate regardless of the candidate’s or voter’s political party preference.
    Provides that candidates may choose not to have a political party preference indicated on the primary ballot.
    Provides that only the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes in the primary will appear on the general election ballot regardless of party preference.
    Provides that voters will have fewer choices at the real election – the General Election.
    Provides that since there will be little chance for candidates to advance to the real election, there will ultimately be fewer candidates able to participate, resulting in reduced voter choice at all levels in the primary.
    Provides that ultimately a small cabal will dominate the single primary which essentially forces all candidates and participating voters into a state-controlled, one-party electoral system similar to the old Soviet Union.
    Does not change primary elections for President, party committee offices and nonpartisan offices.

  6. @5 Yep. Also, meaningless and deceptive ballot labels!

    “Encourages increased participation in elections for congressional, legislative, and statewide offices by changing the procedure by which candidates are selected in primary elections.” <=== Studies show the opposite

    "Gives voters increased options in the primary by allowing all voters to choose any candidate regardless of the candidate’s or voter’s political party preference." <=== But with no confidence that any label means anything, unless they have a lot of money to advertise, your choices are greatly reduced, and with little chance of advancing to a real election, candidates don't want to run….so choices are reduced and participation is decreased, hence those empirical results mentioned earlier

    "Provides that candidates may choose not to have a political party preference indicated on the primary ballot." <=== Except that they are not allowed to use the label that most people identify with this, independent. And additionally, because it's harder to keep parties qualified under this system (and the incentives for doing so are reduced), that may be deceptive anyway

    "Provides that only the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes in the primary will appear on the general election ballot regardless of party preference." <—Thus reducing choice in the real election

    "Does not change primary elections for President, party committee offices and nonpartisan offices." Whoopee!

  7. Jim Riley

    #3 You are failing to recognize that an election is a single process. You wouldn’t get confused and think that filing, voting, and canvassing were unrelated. But somehow a two-stage election befuddles you.

    “The California system before Prop. 14 passed did not exclude any registered voter from voting in Democratic and Republican primaries for the offices affected by Prop. 14.”

    This is untrue. And even if a voter was permitted to choose a partisan ballot, he was restricted or constrained to voting for only certain candidates.

  8. Richard Winger

    #7, your sentence “an election is a single process” is not persuasive to me. Do you think that when the British Conservative Party holds a national conclave and chooses a new national leader (the person who will become Prime Minister if the Conservative Party wins the next election) that national meeting is part of the British parliamentary election?

    Federal law says election day is in November for federal office, and if a state wants a run-off, it must be later than that. One could say that any political event is “a single process” with the election, but that is such a mushy statement, it means little or nothing.

  9. Be Rational

    @7 A party choosing a candidate to run in an election is, indeed, part of the overall “process” but it is not part of the actual election where voters choose among the candidates offered.

    In a free counrty with a free electoral system the selection of candidates by parties is free from state control and is not part of the actual election any more than a candidate pulling together a group of supporters and choosing to run as an independent is part of the actual election.

    A party is an organized group of supporters. There are also organized groups of “independent” supporters.

    “Top-two” creates a one-party system, just like they had in the old Soviet Union. It eliminates free elections. It’s supporters are evil and intent on ending free elections in America.

    Your wordy obfuscatory commentary cannot whitewash your evil intent Riley.

    It’s time to expose the evil backers of “top-two” and remove this cabal forever from our midst.

    It’s time to Repeal “top-two.”

  10. Jim Riley

    #3 Would the following be acceptable to you:

    All candidates file at the same time. Candidates may additionally seek the designation of political parties (plural). Parties could require an additional petition of registered party members for any candidate seeking their designation.

    Minor parties would designate by convention.

    All candidates would appear on each primary ballot, but there would be a separate ballot for each major party, as well as a non-party ballot. Each major party could designate who may vote in its primary (system used in Idaho).

    A major party ballot serves to choose the designated candidate of that party, but a voter would be free to support another candidate, abstaining from the designation contest for that race. The candidates seeking the designation of the major party would appear first on the ballot.

    The non-partisan ballot would include a section where a voter may indicate support for a minor party.

    Qualification of candidates for the general election ballot:

    The candidate receiving the largest share of the votes for a major party designation, if the total of votes of candidates seeking the designation of that party for that office is 1% of total votes for that office.

    Any candidate who receives 1% of the total vote cast for that office, on the non-partisan ballot or the section of the ballot that wasn’t for nomination by a major party would also qualify.

    So someone like Lisa Murkowski could qualify for the general election based on votes received from voters who voted the Democratic or non-partisan ballots, but would not be designated the Republican candidate.

    Qualification of party designations for the general election ballot. If 1% of voters in a district or state vote for the party on the non-partisan ballot, the party designations would appear on the general election ballot for offices for that district or all candidates who qualify in the state.

    Qualification of candidates and minor party designations are thus independent, though it would be expected that voters might vote consistently.

    The general election would require a majority. If no candidate received a majority, then the Top 2 would be in the runoff. In addition, trailing candidates could endorse other trailing candidates, such that if the endorsed candidate received more votes than the 2nd place candidate they would qualify for the runoff.

  11. Jim Riley

    #8 The federal law relating to the date of federal elections has been in place since 1872 (though not universally enforced until almost a century later). It was in place at the time of Smith v Allwright, and Tashjian, both of which confirmed that the primary was part of the election process, and denial of the right to vote in the primary was no different than denial of the right to vote in the general election.

    Foster v Love simply says that the decisive election could not occur before November. Louisiana would actually cancel the November election if no runoff was needed, and issue certification to the elected representative in October.

    The issue has never been raised in a timely matter in a judicial proceeding with regard to the Top 2 system used in California or Washington.

    If there were a Supreme Court ruling similar to Foster v Love, a judicial remedy would likely be to simply hold a special election under the Top 2 system in November.

    And of course, federal law can be changed.

  12. Jerry

    #11. Smith v Allwright was decided in the context that Texas at the time was a one-party state. At the time, 1944, every Texas state legislator in both houses was a Democrat. That decision is not applicable to today.

  13. Jim Riley

    #12 In Tashjian, Justice Marshall said that the principle was still intact, and that was a case in Connecticut.

  14. So what we need is to reverse the BS about primaries being part of the election.

    Parties should be able to nominate by primary, convention, eenie meenie miny moe, throwing darts – it doesn’t matter so long as they pay for it themselves. Their party their rules.

    Then have an election between ALL parties and (easily) qualified independents. Want a new label, not independent and not one of the existing ones? Make it easy to qualify that too. Want to use someone else’s existing label but don’t meet their approval? Too bad.
    Run as an independent or qualify a new one.

  15. Jim Riley

    #14 If the election is between parties, why do you need candidates?

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