Make Elections Fair Initiative Pushes for Open Primaries in Arizona
2 mins read

Make Elections Fair Initiative Pushes for Open Primaries in Arizona

PHOENIX – One of the people behind a referendum initiative to reform Arizona’s primary election system said the proposal would improve the quality of candidates and deliver better outcomes for voters.

The Make Elections Fair initiative is a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would abolish party primaries and replace them with single, open primaries for each office.

“It’s an open primary that gives no one an advantage. Every voter and every candidate is treated the same, and I think that’s incredibly important in our current election because both parties have completely failed the country,” said Chuck Coughlin, CEO and president of Phoenix-based consulting firm HighGround, Inc. KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Tuesday.

Coughlin called open primaries a free-enterprise solution to what he said was a widespread problem with candidate quality.

“It provides an opportunity to break down ideas and create a much more vibrant debate, better outcomes, better candidates, better results,” he said.

Will the Honest Elections Initiative Impact the General Election?

In an open primary, the top candidates advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation. The proposed amendment leaves it up to lawmakers to decide how many candidates advance and how the general election is conducted.

“We didn’t want to put a method of electing someone in the Constitution,” Coughlin said. “We think it should be determined by law by election professionals, members of the legislature and the governor, and specifically state that no more than five, no less than two, can advance in the election of a single candidate.”

Last Wednesday, just before the deadline for submitting referendum initiative petitions, the political committee Make Elections Fair PAC submitted 584,124 signatures to the Arizona Secretary of State’s office.

The proposed constitutional amendment needs 383,923 valid signatures to qualify for the November 5 ballot. Before that can be secured, it must go through a signature review process and survive any potential legal challenges.

Coughlin is confident the initiative will be accepted.

“We will be on the ballot in November,” he said. “We will campaign aggressively because we believe that freedom, free markets, liberty are really important to reintroducing competition into the American experiment,” he said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Submit it to the KTAR News team here.