READ THE LWVAZ SUPPORT LETTER IN THE SECRETARY OF STATE PUBLICITY BOOKLET: Quality Education & Jobs
OPEN GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE (TOP 2)
After much research, debate and consideration of the issue, the LWV Arizona is opposing the Open Government (Top 2) initiative. Nevertheless, we have sincere sympathy for the authors/supporters of the initiative when they express dissatisfaction with AZ elections and the tendency to elect persons who do not represent the views of the majority of AZ voters. We agree with the general problem, but not the solution. There are better options to these concerns, some of which the Arizona Leagues have long supported, and which do not disenfranchise ANY voters. Contrary to what is often presented, this initiative is not a small step toward a better system but one with negative consequences. As detailed in our report, we believe there are several different ideas that would meet the goals of the supporters without reducing voter choice in the general election. Some of these include:
1. Easing independent candidate ballot access in Arizona, and repealing the 'sore loser' law.
2. Instant Runoff Voting `IRV' (a type of Ranked Choice Voting for single seat elections and which could either be used in primaries to elect more moderates, or as an option to an 'open general' and eliminate primaries).
3. American style Proportional Representation for multi-seat elections (which if using Ranked Choice Voting could be used as with IRV, explained above). Both of these eliminate 'spoiler effect' and elect the candidate most supported overall. They are both long time LWVAZ positions.
4. Cross-filing, also known as fusion. (Example from California in 1913-1959 when the legislature was reportedly very congenial.)
5. Even a top-two election modeled on the Louisiana SCHEDULE would be an improvement. All candidates run in a general November election. [If no candidate has received 50%, the possible runoff if necessary is held in December.]
We find the particular Top 2 system introduced in Arizona the wrong solution to a reasonably-stated problem.
For further information please see our background report at Top Two position
Barbara Klein, President, LWVAZ
An opposing view to our position is from the Independent Voting.org and Arizonans for Top 2 at Independentvoting.org
Another view is from the Morrison Institute at http://morrisoninstitute.asu.edu/
POINTS OF REBUTTAL TO MEMO FROM INDEPENDENTVOTER.ORG FROM LWVAZ.
In California, Top Two's margin might have been bigger than other electoral reform measures, but the yes vote was less than 54% -- http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/California_Proposition_14,_Top_Two_Primaries_Act_(June_2010)
Michael Bloomberg sought Top Two in NYC, but it lost by a huge margin when on the ballot, and the Citizens Union was isolated in its position in support.
Arizona already has an open primary for independent voters. They have to choose one party's ballot, of course. We should not muddy discussion of open primaries (with several benefits) and top two + they are NOT synonymous.
Ironically, in Arizona and other "semi-closed" states (which Arizona is), independent voters enjoy more freedom in primaries than voters registered into a party. A registered Republican must choose a Republican primary ballot, but a registered independent can ask for a Democratic ballot, a Republican ballot, a Green ballot, or an Americans Elect ballot.
READ THE LWVAZ OPPOSITION STATEMENT IN THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S PUBLICITY BOOKLET: OPEN ELECTIONS/OPEN GOVERNMENT
PROPOSITION 115: JUDICIAL SELECTION
This proposition increases the term length and raises the retirement age for justices and judges; modifies membership of court appointment commissions; requires AZ Supreme, Appellate and Superior Courts to publish decisions online and to transmit a copy of judicial performance reviews of each judge up for retention to the state legislature.
It is important to keep a fair and independent judiciary in this state. Even though this may seem like a small change at first, in reality it would do great damage to the present merit selection system for selecting judges. The current system has taken politics off the bench in the counties that qualify for the system; this would put politics back on the court bench.
THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF ARIZONA IS OPPOSING THIS PROPOSITION. READ THE LETTER OF OPPOSITION IN THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S PUBLICITY PAMPHLET: Judicial Selection
TV ADS IN OPPOSITION TO PROP. 115
The No on Proposition 115 Committee began airing its first television ad that features former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor. In the 30-second spot, McGregor highlights the negative impacts of Prop. 115. "Our system is one of the best in the nation," McGregor says in the ad. "Proposition 115 would undermine it. We need judges who decide cases based on law not politics." The ad will run on cable stations around the state now through the end of the campaign. "We want voters to understand that Prop. 115 needlessly injects politics into our courtrooms.," said JoJene Mills, a Tucson attorney who chairs the No committee. "We are grateful to Justice McGregor and all those that stand up for justice in our courtrooms. The spot can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wefQDEHUiys&feature=youtu.be
MORE ITEMS PERTAINING TO MERIT SELECTION
Morrison Institute Roundtable (2-22-2012)"Roundtable"<*http://vimeo.com/20532158>
AZ State Bar Association "Checks & Balances"<*http://azbar.org/aboutus/leadership/boardofgovernors/importantisssues/faircourts/meritselection>
Diane Rehm show on NPR "Discussion"<*http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2012-09-05/fairness-state-courts-electing-versus-appointing-state-judges>
Merit Selection at "Prop 115"<*http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/state/inside-arizona-politics%3A-changes-coming-for-judge-selection-process>
Merit Selection at "Prop 115"<*http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/articles/20120829arizona-proposition-judge-selection.html>