Christina Tobin, founder and chairperson of the Free & Equal Elections Foundation, said she understands the desire the end the partisan gridlock that’s behind Proposition 121, the Arizona ballot proposal that would do away with partisan elections. However, she said Prop. 121 and other “Top Two” proposals are not the way to go. She said they would effectively strengthen the hold of the two major parties on the system, and would create even more influence from special interests and corporations.
Tobin was in Arizona last week to campaign against Prop. 121. She held several press conferences around the state, and participated in a panel discussion on the matter at the Goldwater Institute. She spoke with the Pioneer Oct. 11 by phone.
Prop. 121 would replace the current system of partisan primaries with an open primary where all candidates would be on the same ballot and all voters could vote on the same candidates. The top two candidates with the most votes would then appear on the general election ballot.
Supporters of Prop. 121 say it would give all candidates equal access to the ballot, and it would end the partisanship by making all candidates responsible to all voters.
Tobin said many of the claims being made about Prop. 121 are misleading. She said this would actually strengthen the two major parties’ hold on the system as they would have the best organizations. She said Prop. 121 would increase the influence of corporations and special interests. The signature requirements to get a candidate on the ballot would effectively shut third parties out of the process.