Reforming the Arizona Primary and General Election Process
to Serve the Interests of Arizona Citizens
Remarks of Rick Hubbard of Walking To Fix Our Democracy in Phoenix Arizona,
Sunday, November 13th, 2022.
At Margaret T. Hance Park
I’m here to speak about an important opportunity Arizona voters will have to improve the Arizona primary and general election process to better serve your interests, rather than just the interests of the major political parties.
My name is Rick Hubbard and with support from volunteers, I have so far walked well over 330 miles, beginning on the west coast, and slowly heading toward our capitol in Washington DC in support of local, state and national measures to fix our democracy. It will take a year and 4 months and I expect to arrive for events in Washington DC in January of 2024,
At age 80, I must pace myself. Not too fast, and normally not much more than 10 miles a day. My body and feet are still adjusting, and slowly toughening up.
Walking 10 miles normally takes me between 4 and 5 hours, including breaks to eat, drink and sit for a few minutes. This leaves plenty of time for me to speak with a large number of our American people along the way.
I always ask a central question:
How well do you feel those we have elected to represent our interests are doing on our behalf?
I have yet to meet an American who feels a majority of those we have elected are properly doing their job on our behalf.
Sadly there is a direct relationship between a majority not providing us with proper representation and the division and downward path America is now on.
This is why we must fix our democracy so that it properly represents the common interests of all American people.
Opportunity in Arizona
In Arizona, each of you will soon have an opportunity to dramatically improve Arizona’s political primary process to better serve your interests.
The existing primary and general election process serves the interests of the major political parties, but not the interests of Arizona citizens.
It divides people, excludes many from participating, and limits the choice of candidates.
Citizen interests are different from those of the two major political parties.
We benefit when we have a wide range of candidates to choose among, even though we are not going to like them all.
We also benefit when all of us who are registered voters can help choose which candidates of any party should proceed to the general election.
And we are more unified when whoever wins has the support of a majority of us, rather than the support from only a smaller percent of us.
An Example – Gun Rights and Responsibilities
Let’s discuss a simplified, specific, controversial, example.
Our United States Constitution provides us with many rights. Among these is our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. However, each of these rights is not absolute. Each right is balanced by a measure of responsibility.
We have a right to bear arms and we also have a responsibility to use these arms safely in ways that do not endanger the rights of others. We must safeguard our firearms, so they do not mistakenly become available to young children who may unintentionally harm themselves or others. And we must exercise our right to bear arms responsibly in other ways as well.
A majority of Americans are upset by the many mass shootings at schools and other public gathering places. Polls show that some 70-80% of us, across ideologies, agree with both our right to bear arms as well as the need for them to be kept and used responsibly, and for there to be reasonable restrictions placed on those who fail to meet their responsibilities.
Yet not a single Republican Senator will support meaningful measures in Congress that reflect the preferences o 70-80 percent of all Americans. Instead, they will only support innocuous measures that allow them to claim “incremental progress” and thereby kick the can down the road for more years without meaningful legislation.
The reason they will not serve the interest of those who elected them on this issue is directly related to the way our primary and general election process is structured.
Let me pose a question:
Of all eligible voters in primary states, what percentage do you think, on average, will vote in the Republican and Democratic and primaries?
In the Republican primaries – about 10 percent.
And in the Democratic primaries – about 15-20%.
So if you are a Republican US Senator and you wish to qualify for the general election ballot, and if gun rights and restrictions is the only issue on the ballot, you must speak not to the preferences of 70-80 percent of all those you will be representing, but instead to only the preferences of those 10 percent who will vote in the Republican primary.
This is how the present primary process divides us, produces ever more extreme candidates for both parties, and does not reflect our preferences as citizens.
The good news is that every state has the power to determine how its elections will be run.
So, you can change the process so it works for all citizens in Arizona instead of just to benefit the largest political parties.
Part One – is to level the signature requirements for any candidate from any party to get on the ballot.
Part Two - is to get rid of the Republican and Democratic primaries and to change the general election as they now exist in Arizona.
Instead put all candidates from all parties on a single open primary ballot. And then let 100 percent of Arizona’s registered voters choose several to go to the general election and be on the ballot.
Part Three - is, in the general election, use ranked choice to ensure that, regardless of party, the candidate who wins is the candidate that has a majority of all voters in support.
Progress to Date
Three other states and over 50 cities across America have already shown the way.
Maine has used Ranked Choice Voting since the 2016 November election, and the courts have upheld these rights for voters, despite several attempts to overturn the law.
Alaska voters, in the 2020 General Election, approved an initiative to establish a nonpartisan, single ballot for all candidates from any party primary election system.
In the primary, Alaskan voters vote for one candidate in each race and the top four candidates from each race will go on to the general election.
In the general election, voters use Ranked Choice Voting to ensure that the winner among the top four candidates will be the one that has a majority of all voters in support.
And just last Tuesday, voters in Nevada approved the first of what must be two voter approvals in two separate elections to establish a system similar to Alaska’s except that the top 5 vote getting candidates in the primary will go on the general election ballot, which will be decided with Ranked Choice voting to ensure the winner has the support of a majority of all Nevada voters.
It’s telling that many top politicians in both political parties opposed Nevada’s ballot measure. They want to reduce, not increase, their political competition.
They just want to stay in power.
They are putting their interests ahead of the interests of those they were elected to represent.
And that is not the job they were elected to do.
It’s representation malpractice.
Arizona plans to have something similar to Nevada for voters to consider in an upcoming November election.
So when many politicians oppose this measure in Arizona, call them out for not doing their job.
And vote for candidates who will represent the common good of all Arizonans.
Kazz Fernandes of Voter Choice Arizona will follow me and explain to you in more detail what’s planned, and how that will work in Arizona.
We can do this! We can fix our democracy.
So spread the word. Be advocates. Be passionate. Be patriots. Proudly carry our American flag.
And know you are standing up with many more of us, for something much bigger and more important than just ourselves.
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