Political group is trying to bring an open primary to Arizona

By Greg Hahne
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Published: Monday, July 17, 2023 - 1:46pm

A sign points voters to the polls at Tumbleweed Recreation Center
Kerry Fehr-Snyder/KJZZ
A sign points voters to the polls at Tumbleweed Recreation Center in Chandler on Aug. 2, 2022.

Unhappy with Arizona’s current primary system, which can favor extreme candidates, a group of business and political leaders has been pushing for ranked-choice voting.

As the idea struggles to gain traction, they’re pivoting to a different plan.

The group Save Arizona Democracy is now working to get an open primary on the 2024 ballot. 

The proposal would scrap partisan primaries and allow anyone with enough signatures – regardless of party affiliation – to qualify for a single primary. 

Political consultant Chuck Coughlin says the system would ensure the top picks from all voters in all races would advance to the general election.

“What we're doing is creating equality for all voters and all candidates in Arizona, which is enormously popular. And what we are not doing is dictating the outcome," Coughlin said.

The Arizona Legislature has already sent a measure to the ballot that would constitutionally protect the current partisan primaries.

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