As noted on Reason 24/7 yesterday, third parties in Arizona are worried about Proposition 121, the “Open Elections/Open Government Act,” which would create a single primary for all candidates with the top two advancing to November. And then you have to pick between Kodos and Kang. The Tucson Sentinel reports the backers of the proposition say the system would encourage more “moderate” candidates. The proposition makes uniform the petition requirement for ballot access, lowering it for independent candidates while raising it for third parties.
California passed a similar proposition in 2010, after previously instituting an “open primary” system that forced the top two vote getters of the major parties on an open ballot to be the party’s candidates for the general election. The Supreme Court struck the system down in 2000, and California’s response was to strip the parties out all together in a “blanket” primary. A study by the Public Policy Institute of California, however, found the situation bleak for third party and independent candidates under the new system, which came into effect this year; only eight made it to November ballot and the three third party candidates were all write-ins with no other competition but the incumbent. The blanket primary also created competitive intraparty races in otherwise quiet districts. Such a race almost led to a fight in a debate last week.
Good thing your vote doesn’t count.