Open primary advocates out for a few extra signatures

July 03, 2012

A group trying to change Arizona’s primary system will be out collecting some extra signatures Wednesday. The Open Elections/Open Government ballot initiative will give voters a chance to make Arizona’s primary elections nonpartisan. 

That means Arizonans would be able to cast a ballot for a candidate of any party, regardless of their party registration or lack thereof. The top two vote-getters would proceed to the general election.

Former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson, a backer of the initiative, says nonpartisan primaries benefit voters and the candidates, "by showing how they can cross party lines, how they can work with people on the other side. We’re falling into this environment where the only thing that matters is, ‘What team are you on? Are you on the red team, or are you on the blue team?’”

The group originally planned to file its nominating petitions Tuesday, but now say they’ll file Thursday – that’s the deadline. Supporters will be out at Independence Day events getting extra signatures in case some are disqualified. As of Tuesday afternoon, the initiative’s website said they had 330,000 signatures, about 70,000 more than necessary.

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