Editor, Casa Grande Dispatch:
Bill HB 2608, passed back in 2015, revises the signature requirements for candidacy on the state ballots, explicitly increasing signature requirements under Title 16, Chapter 3 of Arizona law. Some claim that imposing this burden on third-party candidates is laudable because it reduces voter confusion. It can also be easily argued that this is merely a strategic ploy to keep nontraditional candidates off the ballot. Especially when proponents of the bill have openly touted it as a countermeasure to: “… Libertarian candidates in the same race siphoning off votes that … otherwise would have gone to the GOP contenders.”
Considering the 2020 election is on the horizon, it seems particularly pertinent to revisit this issue. For far too long Republicans and Democrats have held a duopoly on state politics. Increasing the candidate qualification requirements only serves the two dominant parties, not the people. Maintaining the status quo holds the constituents of Arizona captive to two factions with equally abysmal policies. It may still be a choice. However, it is analogous to choosing between being shot or stabbed. Neither is even remotely an optimal choice. Through loosening the signature requirements, we also loosen the grip of the two mainstay parties on this state. In the end, having more choices will benefit the voter.