An initiative to convert Arizona elections to the top-two primary system now used by Louisiana, Washington state and California is expected to qualify this year. Assuming the initiative has enough valid signatures, it will be on the November 2012 ballot. The petition deadline is July 1 and only another 50,000 signatures are needed.
On May 9, sponsors of the Arizona initiative and the similar California initiative will defend their idea, in a debate sponsored by the O’Connor House Public Policy Committee. Former State Senator Steve Peace of California, a backer of California’s Proposition 62 in 2004 (which lost at the polls) and Proposition 14 in June 2010 (which won at the polls) will team with Grady Gammage, Jr., a sponsor of the Arizona initiative. Gammage is an attorney and a Senior Fellow at Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute.
On the other side will be Alan Maguire, a former high-ranking employee of the Arizona legislature, and currently President of the Arizona Economic Forum, and President of the Maguire Company, a public policy consulting firm. He will be teamed with Richard Winger. The event is at Phoenix’s main public library, the Burton Barr Library, at 1221 N. Central Avenue. It runs from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event is free, and the room is large. But the O’Connor House still recommends that people who wish to be in the audience register in advance, to guarantee a seat. Here is the O’Connor House web page. The O’Connor House is associated with former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The moderator will be Michael M. Grant, an attorney who has also served as host for 25 years for the local PBS station’s public affairs show “Horizon.”