The fight for more equitable voting

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On the 110th anniversary of Arizona’s statehood, Save Democracy Inc. launched to champion raising awareness of our electoral voting system and potential alternatives that treat all voters equally and give all candidates equal access to the ballot. Earlier, we spoke with former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson and Save Democracy Board Member Ted Hinderaker for more.

Save Democracy focuses on publicizing the negative impact of increased partisanship as a result of a two-party system.

Paul Johnson describes the system as unfair to voters–especially independents–as well as to candidates who are not running as Democrats or Republicans.

It leaves us with a “limitation on choices as voters,” Johnson said, and that today we are in a position where “the republic is being challenged.”

Hinderaker said only about 10% of voters select 80% of the state legislature, meaning the candidates do not have to answer to a wider swath of constituents. They only have to appeal to “primary voters” who Hinderaker said are typically “stubborn” voters.

Johnson said aspiring candidates have four or five months to get 7,000 signatures to become a Republican candidate, 6,000 signatures for a democratic candidate, or 40,000 signatures in 30 days for independents.

“Why?” Johnson asked. “Because they don’t want you to have a choice. They believe the two parties are entitled to being able to own the system.”

And Johnson said they are “not doing a good job with it,” adding that we are “then left to choose the lesser of two evils.”

Hinderaker compared the system to that of the Soviet Union’s in which the parties choose the elected officials, something he said “was not what our founding fathers envisioned.”

He added, the result is typically two candidates, one far right, and one far left, and a distinct lack of middle-ground choices.

Johnson said “the republic that our founders put together works; democracy works; the republic works,” but the two party system has evolved and poses a grave danger.

 

 

 

Ted Hinderaker, Save Democracy Board Member; Paul Johnson, former Phoenix Mayor

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