A group that calls itself “Make Election Fair PAC” has launched an effort to collect nearly 400,000 voter signatures to place onto the 2024 ballot, a proposal to completely undo Arizona’s primary election system.
The proposal would effectively scrap Arizona’s partisan primaries and create a jungle primary system where every candidate would appear on the same ballot and every voter would get to vote on all of them. The proposal leaves gaps in the law because it does not specify how many candidates will advance to the general election, and is already attracting criticism from both Republicans and Democrats.
Earlier this year, a group led by political consultant Chuck Coughlin gave up on pushing a Ranked Choice voting scheme, but indicated they were not giving up on the idea of pushing a complete reworking of Arizona’s voting process. An earlier article from Capitol Media Services described the group’s plans “to convince Arizona voters to scrap the method of nominating candidates: play on their feelings about how bad the current system really is and sell them the idea of how much better it could be.”
“This “Make Elections Fair Act” is a misnomer, as it will bring about confusion and voter disenfranchisement. Republicans don’t want Democrats voting for our primary candidates, and I’m sure Democrats don’t want us voting for theirs.” said Arizona Republican Party Chairman Jeff DeWit, who added that “All unaffiliated voters, or as they are commonly referred to as Independents, already can and do vote on the primaries to make their voices heard. The AZGOP will mobilize to block attempts at taking the power of the vote away from hard-working Arizona citizens by special interest groups with convoluted voting schemes like this.”
“The idea that Democrats are going to let Jan Brewer’s consultant open up our primaries to Republicans and the games they play is crazy. No way, no how, not ever.” said one Southern Arizona Democrat activist.
The swamp is trying to manipulate Arizona primary elections. We can’t let them. pic.twitter.com/zOEm8eNJ2D
— Rep. Austin Smith (@azaustinsmith) September 19, 2023
It is not clear who will be paying for this multi-million-dollar campaign, but the group will have to eventually file campaign finance reports. In the meantime, voters can expect to see petition gatherers at their local libraries and elsewhere starting in the very near future.
Make Elections Fair PAC has until July 3rd, 2024, to file 383,923 valid signatures from registered Arizona voters.