Bad ideas never seem to go away. And in politics, they often get recycled every 10 years because consultants need to make money. That’s why it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that we’re seeing another push for jungle primaries in the state of Arizona.
If you’re not familiar with a jungle primary (or open primary), it is an election in which all candidates run in the same primary regardless of their political party. The top two candidates who receive the most votes then advance to the general election.
Several years ago, California adopted this “solution” under the guise that it would result in more moderate policies and candidates being elected there. Go ahead and read that again. When you think of California, do you think of a state with moderate policies and candidates? That should tell you all you need to know about jungle primaries. And yet, now we have groups like Save Democracy telling us that we need to act more like California to improve Arizona. No thank you!
Of course, Arizona voters already said as much back in 2012 when they overwhelmingly rejected this absurd form of voting. But despite this, Save Democracy has decided to pursue a ballot measure to institute jungle primaries after it realized that its work to bring ranked-choice voting (RCV) to Arizona was a disorganized mess.
Some may be thinking: does this mean that the campaign for ranked-choice voting in Arizona is over?
No! (You may want to get your popcorn ready for this one.) While Save Democracy has given up on RCV, a group called Voter Choice Arizona (VCA) has not. Clearly upset with Save Democracy stabbing them in the back and pulling their support, VCA is now openly feuding with its former ally in Save Democracy after it was forced to clarify that they are 100% committed to putting a ranked-choice voting measure on the 2024 ballot.
On top of all this, the Republican-led legislature already voted to send a measure to the 2024 ballot that would give Arizona voters a chance to further protect our primary election system from ranked-choice voting and jungle primaries. So, if you’re keeping score at home, that means we could have three potential ballot initiatives in 2024 dealing with ranked-choice voting or jungle primaries.
This may all seem confusing, but no less confusing than ranked-choice voting where:
- Candidates are listed on the ballot, and voters rank each candidate in order of preference.
- If a candidate wins 50% or more of the first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner.
- If no one wins in the first round, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated.
- In the next round, voters who selected the eliminated candidate as their first choice then have their vote counted for their second preference.
- The process continues until one candidate eventually wins the majority of the adjusted votes.
Jungle primaries will cause many of the same problems—leaving Arizona voters confused and potentially resulting in candidates from the same party being on the ballot in the general election. And that doesn’t even get into the impact all this could have on our voting machines that have had enough trouble under the current system.
The reality is that we’ve already seen significant issues with ranked-choice voting in Alaska. And jungle primaries in California have resulted in fewer candidate choices and even more far left radical politics. We can’t let that happen here. Arizona voters already rejected jungle primaries once. Now, they should shoot them down again.
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