If voters approve, it would dramatically alter AZ primary elections
The Arizona Supreme Court on Friday overturned a lower court ruling regarding the voter initiative that would establish "top two" primary elections in our state.
A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled that the voter initiative was unconstitutional because it covered more than one topic, which the Arizona constitution doesn't allow.
The state Supreme Court, however, overturned the lower court's ruling without comment, giving the ballot measure a green light to be decided by voters in November.
Under the current system, each political party conducts its own primary, and the winner of each primary election advances to the general election. Thus, each general election ballot usually features one Democrat, one Republican, and possibly one candidate representing additional political parties.
Under the "top two" system, all candidates would run on the same ballot, regardless of party affiliation. In fact, listing their party affiliation on the primary ballot would be optional.
All voters would vote in the same primary. Then, the top two vote-getters would advance to the general election. That means the general election could be between a Democrat and a Republican, or two Democrats, or two Republicans, or a Democrat and a Libertarian, etc.
Supporters of the initiative say it will force candidates to "play to the middle" and try to appeal to mainstream voters, instead of to the party faithful who tend to do most of the voting in a primary. The result, proponents say, should be fewer far-right and far-left candidates in the general election, and more moderate or "middle of the road" candidates.