Judge rules against "top two" primary initiative

August 07, 2012

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge says a proposed initiative to change Arizona’s primary election system is unconstitutional and will not be on November’s ballot.
Judge Mark Brain ruled the language in the Open Elections/Open Government Act is too broad and violates the Arizona Constitution by including more than one proposed constitutional amendment in the same ballot measure.

Judge Brain said most of the proposal’s sweeping changes to the current primary system fit together and don’t violate the single-subject rule. But he said that wasn’t the case with Section 3, Article G, which proposes to prohibit using public money for political parties’ activities. In the ruling, Judge Brain said “there is no good reason that a vote for or against that topic should be bundled with a vote on an open primary.”

Supporters of the initiative say they’ll appeal the ruling to the Arizona Supreme Court.

If the initiative makes it to November’s ballot and is passed, it would let the top two vote-getters in a statewide primary move to the general election—regardless of party affiliation.

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