MODERATOR RICH DUBEK: And we do have somebody speaking against 121, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. Two minutes, sir.
MR. BILL MONTGOMERY: As an incumbent, I should like this initiative because it would make reelection easier. But Prop 121 is just the latest set of empty promises seeking to change how we conduct elections in Arizona, falsely claiming this would increase voter participation, result in better candidates, eliminate costs, and make for nicer elections.
Only four states have a system similar to the top-two free-for-all, and none of these promises have come true for them, including California, the latest to try this expensive scheme ripe for exploiting and confusing voters.
To put this initiative on the ballot, supporters had to spend over $1 million to pay for signatures, and in that process convicted felons fraudulently circulated petitions and misled voters about what they were signing, telling some people that the petition would save animals from being killed in shelters, or that by signing they would increase jail time for child molesters.
The reality is that this initiative will double the amount of money spent in primaries. California saw the amount spent double from $24 million to $46 million.
This initiative will eliminate diversity of candidates and choices for voters in general elections when it matters most. Because, regardless of how many candidates qualify for a primary from a party or as an Independent, you can only choose from two in the general election, even if the candidates are both from the same party. That is not how our democracy works. We need the diversity of opinions and voices to choose from in a general election, as we do now.
We will not see more voters participating. No state with this system or one like it has seen an increase in voter participation.
There is no guarantee of better candidates. No system can deliver on that promise, because it is up to voters to decide what kind of candidate they want, not a system trying to rig outcomes. There is no cost savings. We will still pay for primaries under a top-two free-for-all.
Lastly, a top-two free-for-all will not be like non-partisan city elections, because candidates in city elections do not have their party listed on the ballot. But the top-two free-for-all goes so far as to allow candidates to list themselves as members of the Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, or Pluto party. Likewise, this initiative is goofy.
Save our right to choose from more than just two candidates from the same party when it matters most, in the general election. Save our vote. Vote "no" on Prop 121.