Chris Herstam, former member of the Arizona Board of Regents and former Republican legislative leader, talks about the changing face of Arizona's political scene.
Former Phoenix Mayor's Proposal For Nonpartisan Elections
Voters may get another chance to decide if they want to create nonpartisan elections in the state. The proposal by former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson would create an open primary system for county, legislative, statewide and congressional races with all candidates running against each other, regardless of party affiliation.
The top two would face off in the general election. Johnson said the two political parties try to suppress independents who now make up more of the registered voters than Republicans or Democrats.
“Now the effect of that is we are getting a country and a state that is increasingly more divided, increasingly more extreme, where the center is dramatically underrepresented,” Johnson said.
A virtually identical measure was trounced two years ago by a 2-1 margin. But Johnson blamed that on the fact that that plan still allowed candidates to list their affiliations on the ballot, meaning general election voters could see they're being asked to choose between two Democrats or two Republicans. The new plan would preclude any mention of affiliation on the ballot. Johnson will need close to 300,000 valid signatures by July 2016 to put the issue on the ballot that year.