Judge to Hear Arguments Over Open Primary Initiative

Jul 24, 2012

A judge will consider whether voters will get to decide whether they want to make major changes in state election law.

The initiative seeks to scrap the current system of partisan primaries and replace it with one where everyone runs against everyone else, and the top two face off in the general election, even if both are from the same party. Opponents, largely involved with the Republican Party, are trying to knock the measure off the ballot with arguments that it unconstitutionally seeks to make too many separate changes, affecting everything from how candidates are listed to who gets public funding. But attorney Kim Demarchi who represents initiative organizers said that's irrelevant.

"If you're trying to get to one purpose, and everything you're doing is pushing toward that one purpose, even if it's complicated, even if it's multifaceted, that's fine, that's a single subject," Demarchi said. "We're not going to deny people complexity. We're not going to deny them complicated solutions to modern problems."

Jaime Molera, a lobbyist and former GOP candidate for statewide office, said he hopes to kill the initiative because it would harm what he says is a functioning political system where voters know the affiliation of candidates.

"You have now a system that clearly outlines the two major political views of this country, of this state," Molera said. "And it gives people a very good choice of what that vision is of how do we run government. This will blow this up."

A hearing is set for Aug. 3.