REFERENCE TITLE: open top two primary elections
State of Arizona
House of Representatives
Second Regular Session
Representatives Chabin, Pancrazi
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
proposing an amendment to the constitution of arizona; repealing article VII, section 10, Constitution of Arizona; amending the constitution of Arizona by adding new article VII, section 10; relating to primary and general elections.
(TEXT OF BILL BEGINS ON NEXT PAGE)
Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Arizona, the Senate concurring:
1. Article VII, section 10, Constitution of Arizona, is proposed to be repealed as follows if approved by the voters and on proclamation of the Governor:
Article VII, section 10, Constitution of Arizona, relating to the establishment of the direct primary election, is repealed.
2. Article VII, Constitution of Arizona, is proposed to be amended by adding a new section 10 as follows if approved by the voters and on proclamation of the Governor:
Open top two primary election10.
It is the intent of this section that all persons who are qualified to vote in elections in this state are guaranteed the unrestricted right to vote for the qualified candidate of their choice in all elections. A voter shall not be denied the right to vote for the qualified candidate of that voter's choice in a primary or general election based on the political party affiliation of the voter or the voter's lack of political party affiliation.
This section applies to the election of candidates to all federal, state, county and local elected offices except for the following:
1. Elections in which the affiliation, registration or preference of the candidate's political party does not appear on the ballot.
2. Elections for candidates for the office of president and vice-president of the United States.
C. Rights of voters
A voter shall be permitted to state the voter's political party preference, if any, in the voter's own words on the voter registration form and shall not be required to choose from a list of recognized political parties, affiliations, designations, initials or abbreviations.
An open top two primary election shall be conducted to select the candidates who compete in the general election. The open top two primary election shall be governed as follows:
1. The two candidates who receive the greatest number of votes in the primary election shall compete in the general election except that, for any office to which more than one candidate will be elected, the number of candidates who compete in the general election for that office shall be calculated by determining the number of candidates to be elected to that office and multiplying that number by two.
2. All persons who are registered voters and who are otherwise eligible to vote for that office may vote in the open top two primary election for any candidate who is eligible to run for that office without regard to party affiliation.
3. This section shall not be construed to prohibit a write-in candidate in either the primary or the general election as otherwise prescribed by law.
E. Filing requirement
All candidates for office to which this section applies shall file a petition or other nominating paper that contains the signatures of registered voters in an amount to be established by law. The statutory signature requirements established pursuant to this section shall be based on the total number of votes cast for that office in the immediately preceding general election and shall be the same number for all candidates for any one office without regard to political party affiliation or lack of political party affiliation of the candidate.
F. Rights of candidates
All candidates shall have the choice to declare a political party preference, if any, as that preference is stated on the candidate's voter registration form. The candidate's political party registration shall contain a maximum of twenty characters and shall appear as follows:
1. On the candidate's nomination petition and shall use the words "registered as ______", with the blank filled in to include the candidate's party of registration.
2. On the primary and general election ballot on which that candidate's name appears. The words "registered as" may be used in a column heading or other prefatory text on the ballot rather than being repeated next to the name of each candidate, so long as the words "registered as" remain prominently stated and are clear to the voter.
3. If no party preference is stated on the candidate's voter registration form, no political party designation may appear on the nomination petition or papers or on any ballot with the candidate's name.
G. Ballot language and voter information material
In any government provided voter education or informational material that contains a list of candidates and on every primary and general election ballot, the following statement shall be prominently displayed: "The party registration, if any, stated with the candidates' names on this ballot is not an indication that a candidate has been nominated or endorsed by that party, but only reflects the party registration, if any, of that candidate.
H. Rights of political parties
This section shall not be construed to :
1. Restrict the right of persons to join in or organize into political parties or in any way restrict the rights of private association for political parties.
2. Restrict the right of political parties to contribute to, endorse or otherwise support or oppose candidates for elected office. A political party may establish the internal procedures of its choice to elect party officers, endorse or support candidates or otherwise participate in all elections but these private proceedings shall not be paid for or otherwise subsidized using public monies.
I. Equal treatment of voters, candidates
All qualified voters and qualified candidates shall be treated equally by the laws and rules governing elections in this state without regard to political party affiliation or lack of political party affiliation. To the extent that any privileges or procedures are made available to certain candidates or political parties, they shall be made equally available to all candidates or political parties without regard to the party affiliation or party recognition or any lack of affiliation or recognition.
J. Severability; implementation
If a provision of this section or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or application of the section that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this section are severable. On approval by the voters, this amendment applies to all elections occurring after January 1, 2014 and this measure supersedes any existing state statutes, regulations and election procedures to the extent that they are inconsistent with this section. The legislature, the secretary of state and local government officials shall promptly make the changes and additions to state statues, regulations and elections procedures as are necessary to fully implement the provisions of this section to provide for the open top two primary election prescribed by this act in 2014 and for every applicable primary and general election thereafter. Legislation, regulations and elections procedures that purport to implement this section shall be consistent with and further the purpose of this amendment in order to allow and encourage all qualified voters in this state to vote in primary and general elections for the candidates of their choice without regard to the political affiliation of the voters and the candidates.
3. The Secretary of State shall submit this proposition to the voters at the next general election as provided by article XXI, Constitution of Arizona.