Top Ten Reasons to Vote “No” on the Arizona Top Two or Jungle Primary Initiative

| July 27 2012

There are plenty of reasons to oppose Arizona’s Top Two or Jungle Primary initiative. Opposition to the jungle primary is bipartisan and has faced court challenges from both sides of the political spectrum. Below is the top ten reasons why Arizona’s Top Two or Jungle Primary proposal is bad for the state and bad for voter choice. If you want to learn more, please visit StopTopTwo.org for more educational information.

Top Ten Reasons for Opposing Arizona’s Top Two or Jungle Primary Initiative

10. It is Unconstitutional – A court case currently being fought in California pits a Democratic candidate who will not be in the General Election against two Republicans that were the highest vote getters in the “Top-Two” Primary. Democrats have had a choice in every election in the district since California entered the Union, until now.  Opponents argue “that the top-two open primary system is unconstitutional because it precludes third party voters from casting a ballot for their candidates of choice at the general election, prevents third party candidates from communicating their message to general election voters via the ballot, and denies third parties in general the ability to reach general election voters.” What happened to having your vote count or having voter choice?

9. It Shuts Out Third Parties – In California, of the 54 Federal offices up for election, only 4 of the elections will have a choice other than Democrat or Republican. Of the 98 State offices up for election, only 4 of the elections will have a choice other than Democrat or Republican. 26.4% of California voters are not Democrats or Republicans, yet they are only represented in 7.4% of Federal elections and 4.1% in State elections. Third parties are left out of the General Election. Again, election laws should increase our choices and not diminish them, something the Top Two system will do. 

8. It Limits Choices – With party primaries, each legitimate party nominates their own candidate. In Arizona, this allows for general elections voters to choose between up to five candidates instead of just two. The “Jungle” Primary limits the general electorates’ choices. It is also possible that the two choices that you are presented will not actually represent your values as a voter.

7. It Leads to Corruption – Tammany Hall-type politics will run rampant. Without party leadership to steer the nomination process, conglomerate special interests will be given more power to pick winners. If you think big money interests have too much power in politics now, you just wait if Arizona adopts a Top Two or Jungle Primary system.

6. It Increases Money’s Involvement in Politics – In a party primary process, candidates focus their message and money on a limited voter population for the Primary Election, and then a comprehensive voter population for the General Election. In a “Jungle Primary,” candidates must focus their message and money on a comprehensive voter population in both the Primary and General Elections. This increases the amount of money required to run in both the Primary and the General Election, and thus increases Money’s involvement in politics.

5. It Kills Good Candidates Chances – Candidates not willing to get involved with big machine politics will have no chance of winning. Candidates unable to spend 33% or more on campaigns will not have a chance of winning. “Instant Runoff” Primaries ruin good candidates chances of winning. Plus, candidates with new ideas, often breaking with their political party’s orthodoxy, will likely be discouraged to run because of the increased difficulty to win.

4. Enables Politicians, Not Leaders – Politicians often pander to whatever room of people they are in. Many voters distrust politicians for this reason. Top Two or Jungle Primary elections require candidates to pander to larger groups of diverse voters, instead of taking principled stands on issues and leading in the respective districts.

3. It Allows for David Duke Type Candidates – Louisiana enacted the “Jungle” Primary system in 1977. In a 1989 special election, Duke, a known member of the Ku Klux Klan and the founder of the National Association for the Advancement of White People, received the highest total votes in the “Jungle Primary.” How irritating would it be if you were forced to vote for two David Duke type candidates when you knew a majority of voters never wanted those candidates in the first place?

2. It Enables Voter Deceit – Corrupt candidates can game the election system for their or their preferred party benefit. We have seen our share of fake political candidates in Arizona. “Top-Two” Primaries makes voter deceit much easier. In fact, under the current proposed change, the candidate is not even required to prove or even announce their party affiliation. Arizona voters would just have to take the candidate’s word for it.

1. It Does Not Work! – The Top Two or Jungle Primary system fails in its claimed attempts to moderate candidates and improve Independent voter participation. Voters are not against progress or making our election system better, but just because something is proposed does not mean it actually works. In fact, this proposal makes things much worse for the voters of Arizona.

If you support voter choice, you will oppose Arizona’s Top Two or Jungle Primary proposal.

3 comments
JoeCobb
JoeCobb

Number 5 ("“Instant Runoff” Primaries ruin good candidates chances of winning.") is a total confusion of the "jungle" Top-2 primary with Instant Run Off (Ranked Choice Voting).  In a voting system where you can rank your first, second, third choices, the "most preferred" candidate always wins because s/he enjoys the first choices of many and the second or third choice votes of the rest of the voters, even if that candidate comes in lower initially.  Please don't confuse the Top-2 closing of primaries with Ranked Choice Voting (IRV).

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Joe@JoeCobb.com

Treasurer, FairVote Az.org

ThisIsJohnGalt
ThisIsJohnGalt

 @JoeCobb It all sounds nuts! What's the difference between IRV and an Open Primary? Neither help me vote for my party.

hannah_in_az
hannah_in_az moderator

 @JoeCobb The Top 2 system could make it so that a person could not vote for their choice at all.  It robs voters of their choice.  What is wrong with the system we have now where parties nominate candidates and voters pick one?