Americans for Responsible Leadership continues to oppose Arizona’s Prop 121 ballot initiative, which would implement an open primary. An open primary would not be good for Arizona because it would have unintended consequences and reduce choice.
Doing away with the party primary system would leave voters trying to determine which candidates among a crowded field are actually legitimate players and which are only on the ballot for misleading purposes. It would be in the interest of the parties to try and have both general election candidates be from their “team”, so they would collude and scheme in an attempt to rig the outcome of the primary.
All of this is in an effort to reduce the choices available to voters during the general election. Arizona’s open primary initiative would marginalize the voices of third parties, as only two candidates are allowed on the general election. And when parties succeed in getting two of their candidates through the primary, it leaves voters who aren’t affiliated with that party with no choice whatsoever in the general election. This is a frequent outcome of open primaries in California, where Republicans, Independents, and third-party voters are left without candidates they would want to support in a general election. Arizonans should be wary of the idealistic-sounding pitch for Prop 121, because open primaries are really designed to minimize the influence of elections on politics — not the other way around.