have also made presentations in Arizona (including the Goldwater Institute) regarding the 'Top Two' Election Law change proposed in Prop 121 on the ballot here in Arizona. When we went to the Arizona Secretary of State's page to review the PDF of the document listed on the government's site it sent us to an error page while the other ballot measures were available. TYPICAL!!!!!
Conspiracy?... Don't know, and don't care. I hate elections for too many reasons to count, but the first time I actually go to the Department of Government that is responsible for making this information available I am immediately reminded of why I no longer Vote (doesn't stop us from running for office and pointing out such failings... in fact it is just such events that motivate our selective participation in this corrupt and defective process)
The gentleman that answered the phone seemed concerned and helpful and promised to check into the problem right away and get back to me with a solution. He also pointed out another portion of the site where the information can be accessed (though not the place most would look).
In Arizona most of the votes have already been cast via early/mail-in votes and for the Ballot Information to not be available just brings decades of these experiences immediately to the surface for me.
For the first time I have read Proposition 121 (full text below) and I can't find a major flaw. It creates a level field for the fair and equal treatment of individual candidates. The opposition to this legislation comes from ALL of the political parties. All Political parties have become dependent on the government to guarantee them a place on the General Election ballot for their candidates. Taxpayer resources are also counted on for free voter databases and even Arizona's state tax forms are used for party donations administered by the State Treasurer.
Libertarian Candidates take advantage of this every election. My good friend Marc Victor gained access to the General Election ballot for Arizona's U.S. Senate race by getting more than the 130+ write in votes needed in our "Party Primary" (aka government subsidized party election) just this past August of 2012.
I'm certain that the incumbents would love the idea of difficult access to the Primary Election for individual candidates but this is Sooooooo not the point. Does the initiative provide for equal treatment under the law for an individual seeking public office?... irregardless of their private club membership?
It's below for you to read and decide for yourself. I was asked for my views on the issue by the backers and the lawyers for this initiative before its filling and was able to express myself fully.
A presentation was made before the Arizona Breakfast Club and the issue was hotly debated.
I refused to get involved but its looks like they addressed my concerns and drafted a document that definitely has scared the Party Welfare recipients.
The constitutional requirements of election law is not the protection of collective (Party) rights, but the protection of individual rights. Equal treatment under the law is required. It is also important to understand that associational rights be protected as well. My first reading of this law left me with the feeling that this was a balanced and CONSTITUTIONAL effort that should be read by any voter.
Which makes the Arizona Secretary of State's 'error' all the more _motivating_ for me to bring attention to business as usual.
I have avoided the 'official' election process as much as possible because almost every experience reminds me of all of the frustrations that have accumulated over the past 20 years... and the one time I do look for information that I know is promised voters I get this experience to add to my pile.... I almost made it. With only one week to go I dared to seek information from the government and got a fresh reminder of why I haven't looked for the entire 2012 Election Cycle... Amazing!
The money behind the campaigns in Support and in Opposition to the measure is of interest to many and in the fullness of time will be known to all. I have actively made an effort to stay out of the 2012 election cycle by only supporting others' efforts to support whatever they find of importance (well,... I did get Marc Victor to run for US Senate
... but that was to keep the definition of libertarianism well defined... thanks Marc).
On July 3rd of 1991 I challenged 44 Arizona election laws in federal court and in late 1994 gave Oral Arguments to the 9th Circuit in San Fransisco... I KNOOOOOW Election Laws.
Election law has been used to eliminate opposition before it even starts for as far back as recorded case history in the United States. I was warned that my support of Ron Paul with the LOV3olution would only deceive the next generation into thinking that voting was somehow going to set them free. I knew better. I countered with the belief that Generation Next would learn the same lessons that I did... the system is rigged rigged rigged in just about every possible way that it can be, and at every level.
I bring attention to this initiative for one reason, cui bono
Who/What benefits from its passage and Who/What benefits from its defeat?
Since the filing of the initiative I have been pressed from all sides for my active participation in campaigns and in law suits from both sides... at very high levels. And what was obvious to me immediately was the defense of Political Welfare. I'm sure that the proponents of the measure will find some way to reap rewards at the expense of their neighbors... or not. But the support of taxpayer funded advantages to party/club membership has had a very bad track record in human history. I can only fear that the Libertarian Party's opposition to Federally Funded Presidential Campaigns will vanish with the announcement of Gary Johnson's willingness to accept them in 2016. My support of Rick Tompkin's campaign in 1996 against Harry Browne for the LP nomination was centered around this single issue and was successful in stopping the effort (IMNSHO).
I was fortunate to meet Hard Core No-Compromise Arizona Libertarians in my early years AFTER I began fighting the state's controlled elimination of opposition to The State. But it was immediately obvious to me that the Party of Principle... the party with the Mission Statement that would take 7/8ths in convention to change (and they/them/those have tried many times) has been first in line to defend the LP's access to the public trough before the rights of the individual...
Libertarian Party's Statement of Principles
We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.
We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.
Governments throughout history have regularly operated on the opposite principle, that the State has the right to dispose of the lives of individuals and the fruits of their labor. Even within the United States, all political parties other than our own grant to government the right to regulate the lives of individuals and seize the fruits of their labor without their consent.
We, on the contrary, deny the right of any government to do these things, and hold that where governments exist, they must not violate the rights of any individual: namely, (1) the right to life -- accordingly we support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others; (2) the right to liberty of speech and action -- accordingly we oppose all attempts by government to abridge the freedom of speech and press, as well as government censorship in any form; and (3) the right to property -- accordingly we oppose all government interference with private property, such as confiscation, nationalization, and eminent domain, and support the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation.
Since governments, when instituted, must not violate individual rights, we oppose all interference by government in the areas of voluntary and contractual relations among individuals. People should not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others. They should be left free by government to deal with one another as free traders; and the resultant economic system, the only one compatible with the protection of individual rights, is the free market.
So, what would a freedom advocating individual have to say about the initiative below?
Please let me know what you think. Remember, I have absolutely no idea how the change would alter the political landscape... no one does. But then my only criteria is how are individual rights protected... or what's the point of having any government anyway.
If this measure does pass, then I can still be counted on to advocate for liberty in whatever manner is available to me. And I'll feel much less sullied not being a Political Welfare recipient at the same time that I am advocating against Economic and Social Welfare.
Found full text of Prop 121 Here
AN INITIATIVE MEASURE
CREATING AN OPEN PRIMARY GIVING ALL QUALIFIED VOTERS THE RIGHT TO VOTE FOR THE CANDIDATES OF THEIR CHOICE, PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; AMENDING ARTICLE VII OF THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA RELATING TO DIRECT PRIMARY ELECTION LAW
TEXT OF PROPOSED AMENDMENT
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Arizona:
Section 1. Title . This initiative amendment shall be known as the "Open Elections/Open Government Act."
Section 2. Purpose.
A. This initiative will ensure that every person qualified to vote, including those not affiliated with any political party, has the right to vote at any election for any candidate, regardless of the voter's or the candidate's party affiliation or lack of party affiliation.
B. To provide more choice to all the voters and candidates of Arizona, this proposition:
(1) Abolishes the existing system of taxpayer-funded primary elections to select nominees for political parties.
(2) Creates in its place an Open "Top Two" Primary Election, in which all candidates running for an office appear together on the same ballot and all qualified voters (regardless of party affiliation or lack thereof) are able to vote for the candidate of their choice. The two candidates receiving the highest vote totals for each office would then go on to face each other in the general election.
C. This proposition applies to all Arizona elections in which a candidate's party affiliation, registration, or preference may appear on the ballot. It does not apply to elections in which no party affiliation, registration, or preference appears on the ballot, and it also does not apply to the system for the election of President and Vice President of the United States.
Section 3. Article VII section 10, Constitution of Arizona, is amended by repealing section 10 and replacing it as follows:
(The bolded and Italicized text below will be replaced with the CAPTIALIZED text below that)
§ 10. Direct primary election law
Section 10. The Legislature shall enact a direct primary election law, which shall provide for the nomination of candidates for all elective State, county, and city offices, including candidates for United States Senator and for Representative in Congress. Any person who is registered as no party preference or independent as the party preference or who is registered with a political party that is not qualified for representation on the ballot may vote in the primary election of any one of the political parties that is qualified for the ballot.
§ 10. OPEN TOP TWO PRIMARY
A. APPLICABILITY . THIS SECTION SHALL APPLY TO THE ELECTION OF CANDIDATES FOR ALL FEDERAL, STATE, COUNTY, AND LOCAL ELECTIVE OFFICES EXCEPT (1) THOSE IN WHICH NO PARTY AFFILIATION, REGISTRATION, OR PREFERENCE MAY APPEAR ON THE ELECTION BALLOT AND (2) THE SYSTEM FOR THE ELECTION OF PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES .
B. RIGHTS OF VOTERS . ALL QUALIFIED VOTERS SHALL BE GUARANTEED THE UNRESTRICTED RIGHT TO VOTE FOR THE QUALIFIED CANDIDATE OF THEIR CHOICE IN ALL ELECTIONS. NO VOTER SHALL BE DENIED THE RIGHT TO VOTE FOR THE QUALIFIED CANDIDATE OF HIS OR HER CHOICE IN A PRIMARY OR GENERAL ELECTION BASED UPON HIS OR HER PARTY AFFILIATION OR LACK THEREOF. VOTERS SHALL BE PERMITTED TO STATE THEIR PARTY PREFERENCE (IF ANY) IN THEIR OWN WORDS ON THEIR VOTER REGISTRATION FORM, AND SHALL NOT BE LIMITED TO SELECTING FROM A LIST OF RECOGNIZED PARTIES OR AFFILIATIONS .
C. PROCEDURE . FOR OFFICES TO WHICH THIS SECTION APPLIES, AN OPEN PRIMARY ELECTION SHALL BE CONDUCTED TO SELECT THE CANDIDATES WHO COMPETE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION. ALL REGISTERED VOTERS MAY VOTE IN THE OPEN PRIMARY ELECTION FOR ANY QUALIFIED CANDIDATE, PROVIDED THAT THE VOTER IS OTHERWISE QUALIFIED TO VOTE FOR CANDIDATES FOR THE OFFICE IN QUESTION. THE TWO CANDIDATES WHO RECEIVE THE MOST 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 WILL COMPETE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION SHALL BE THE NUMBER OF CANDIDATES TO BE ELECTED TIMES TWO. THIS SECTION DOES NOT PROHIBIT WRITE-IN VOTING IN EITHER THE PRIMARY OR GENERAL ELECTION AS OTHERWISE PRESCRIBED BY LAW .
D. FILING REQUIREMENT . ALL CANDIDATES WISHING TO RUN FOR AN ELECTIVE OFFICE TO WHICH THIS SECTION APPLIES SHALL FILE, WITH THE APPROPRIATE ELECTIONS OFFICER, PETITIONS CONTAINING THE SIGNATURES OF REGISTERED VOTERS IN AN AMOUNT TO BE ESTABLISHED BY LAW. THE SIGNATURE REQUIREMENTS ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL BE BASED ON THE TOTAL VOTES CAST FOR THAT OFFICE IN THE PREVIOUS GENERAL ELECTION AND SHALL BE THE SAME FOR ALL CANDIDATES FOR THAT OFFICE, REGARDLESS OF PARTY AFFILIATION OR LACK THEREOF .
E. RIGHTS OF CANDIDATES . AT THE TIME THEY FILE TO RUN FOR PUBLIC OFFICE, EVERY CANDIDATE SHALL HAVE THE CHOICE TO DECLARE HIS OR HER PARTY PREFERENCE (IF ANY) AS IT IS STATED ON THEIR VOTER REGISTRATION FORM, UP TO A MAXIMUM OF 20 CHARACTERS. THAT PARTY PREFERENCE (IF ANY) SHALL APPEAR ON THE CANDIDATE'S NOMINATION PETITIONS AND ON THE PRIMARY AND GENERAL ELECTION BALLOTS USING THE PHRASE "REGISTERED AS _________ ." ON THE BALLOTS, THE WORDS "REGISTERED AS" MAY BE USED IN A COLUMN HEADING OR OTHER PREFATORY TEXT RATHER THAN BEING REPEATED NEXT TO THE PARTY PREFERENCE OF EACH CANDIDATE, SO LONG AS THE WORDS "REGISTERED AS" REMAIN PROMINENTLY STATED AND CLEAR TO THE READER. IF NO PARTY PREFERENCE IS STATED ON A CANDIDATE'S VOTER REGISTRATION FORM, THEN NO DESIGNATION SHALL APPEAR ON THE NOMINATION PETITIONS OR BALLOT WITH THE CANDIDATE'S NAME.
F. BALLOT LANGUAGE . IN ALL GOVERNMENT-ISSUED VOTER EDUCATION MATERIALS THAT CONTAIN A LIST OF CANDIDATES STANDING FOR ELECTION AND ON EVERY PRIMARY AND GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT, THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE 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 THE CANDIDATE."
G. RIGHTS OF POLITICAL PARTIES . NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL RESTRICT THE RIGHT OF INDIVIDUALS TO JOIN OR ORGANIZE INTO POLITICAL PARTIES OR IN ANY WAY RESTRICT THE RIGHT OF PRIVATE ASSOCIATION OF POLITICAL PARTIES. NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL RESTRICT THE PARTIES' RIGHT TO CONTRIBUTE TO, ENDORSE, OR OTHERWISE SUPPORT OR OPPOSE CANDIDATES FOR ELECTIVE OFFICE. POLITICAL PARTIES MAY ESTABLISH SUCH PROCEDURES AS THEY SEE FIT TO ELECT PARTY OFFICERS, ENDORSE OR SUPPORT CANDIDATES, OR OTHERWISE PARTICIPATE IN ALL ELECTIONS, BUT NO SUCH PROCEDURES SHALL BE PAID FOR OR SUBSIDIZED USING PUBLIC FUNDS .
H. LEVEL PLAYING FIELD . ALL QUALIFIED VOTERS AND CANDIDATES SHALL BE TREATED EQUALLY BY STATUTES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING ELECTIONS REGARDLESS OF THEIR PARTY AFFILIATION OR LACK THEREOF. TO THE EXTENT THAT ANY PRIVILEGES OR PROCEDURES ARE MADE AVAILABLE TO CANDIDATES OR POLITICAL PARTIES, THEY SHALL BE MADE EQUALLY AVAILABLE TO ALL CANDIDATES OR POLITICAL PARTIES, REGARDLESS OF PARTY AFFILIATION, RECOGNITION, OR LACK THEREOF .
Section 4. Severability
If any provision of this initiative is held invalid for any reason, the remaining portions of this initiative will be severed from the void portion and given the fullest possible force and application. The people of Arizona declare their intention that the provisions of this initiative are severable.
Section 5. Submission to voters
The Secretary of State shall submit this proposition to the voters at the next general election as provided by Article XXI, Section 1, Constitution of Arizona.
Section 6. Effective date and implementation by Legislature
If approved by the voters, this Constitutional Amendment shall apply to all elections occurring after January 1, 2014, and shall supersede any existing state statutes, regulations, and elections procedures to the extent that they are inconsistent with this Constitutional Amendment. The Legislature, Secretary of State and local officials shall promptly make such changes in and additions to state statutes, regulations, and elections procedures as are necessary to fully implement the provisions of this Constitutional Amendment in time for the open primary election in 2014 and for every open primary and general election thereafter. Legislation, regulations, and elections procedures implementing this amendment must be consistent with and further the purpose of this amendment to permit and encourage all qualified voters in Arizona to vote in primary and general elections for the candidates of their choice, regardless of the political affiliation of voters and candidates.
ANALYSIS BY LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
Beginning with the 2014 elections, Proposition 121 would amend the Arizona Constitution by eliminating the longstanding primary election that allows each recognized political party in Arizona to select its own nominee for the general election. In its place would be a primary election system in which registered voters may vote for candidates regardless of political affiliation. A funding source has not been identified that will pay the cost of the open top two primary election that will replace the current system. Additionally, the number of candidates who appear on the general election ballot would be limited to only the two who receive the most votes and any qualified write-in candidates, except that, for any office to which more than one candidate shall be elected, the number of candidates who will compete in the general election shall be the number of candidates to be elected times two. Currently, all candidates who receive the most votes in their party primary appear on the general election ballot. This often results in more than two candidates appearing on the general election ballot.
Proposition 121 would not apply to the election of United States President, nor to any office for which political party affiliation may not appear on the ballot.
Under Proposition 121, the signature requirement for candidates wishing to run in the open primary election for an office would be based on the total votes cast for all candidates for that office at the previous general election and would be the same for all candidates regardless of party affiliation or lack of affiliation. Each candidate who declared a party preference on their voter registration form would have that preference listed, up to twenty characters, on the nominating petition and on the primary and general election ballots. If no party preference is declared on a candidate's registration form, no preference would be listed on the petition and ballots. All government-issued voter education materials and ballots would contain a notice that any political party registration listed for a candidate is not an indication that the candidate has been nominated or endorsed by that political party.
Proposition 121 provides that individuals may organize or join political parties and that political parties may elect party officers, support or oppose candidates and otherwise participate in all elections, if the party activity is not paid for or subsidized using public funds. All voters, candidates and political parties must be treated equally, regardless of party affiliation or lack of affiliation. When registering to vote, voters would be allowed to state any party preference in their own words and would not be limited to selecting from a list of recognized political parties or affiliations.
The proposition leaves to future Legislatures and governing bodies a number of issues, including who will have access to the statewide voter database, how vacancies will be handled, what percentage of votes will be set each year as the number of petition signatures required by each candidate for each office to qualify for the ballot, how to pay for the two tier election and how to pay for the cost of implementation and conforming legislation. The Department of Justice must pre-clear any changes.
P.S. Here is an update on Sparky plating components and assembling first battery: