To the editor:
Arizona currently has a partially, or semi-closed, primary, which allows independent voters to participate in non-presidential elections. This means registered independents can opt to participate in either the Democratic or Republican primary, but not both. Therefore, on primary ballots, independents cannot vote for a Democrat for Congress and a Republican for Governor. Registered voters not affiliated with an established political party comprise a significant and increasing proportion of the electorate in Arizona (32 percent as of Feb. 2011).
A Top-Two-Vote-Getter (TTVG) primary would allow all voters to have equal say in who represents them. A TTVG primary election is one in which all voters receive one ballot with all candidates listed for each office. Voters are allowed to choose any candidate, regardless of party. The two candidates receiving the most votes in these races, regardless of party, would advance to the general election.
TTVG is not an idea that appeals to just independent voters. In Washington State, voters passed a TTVG initiative in 2004. An August 2008 independent Washington State poll (taken just after a primary election) showed 76 percent of voters liked the Top-Two system. Furthermore, 82 percent of the independents, 68 percent of the Democrats and 66 percent of Republicans favored the Top Two approach over the pick-a-party system.
In a 2010 poll of Arizona voters, 66 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed the Arizona Legislature has the wrong priorities. A recent Morrison Institute (ASU) paper concludes that "A TTVG primary could be one systemic change to increase government effectiveness."