Democracy v Mob Rule - School Choice

By Paul Parisi   3-13-2023

When does democracy become mob rule? It’s when the majority tramples on the rights of the minority. Our founding fathers understood the pitfalls of democracy and designed our country with a representative form of government where we have majority rule with minority rights. Thomas Jefferson said in his first inaugural address in 1801:

“All . . . will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect and to violate would be oppression”.

At this moment, Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 1023, is working its way through the Arizona Legislature.SCR 1023, championed by LD 17 Senator Justine Wadsack, would allow all voters in Arizona to challenge the City of Tucson’s home rule charter that allows city ward primary elections of candidates with general elections by city wide vote. Some say this system of

Tucson elections was put in place in 1929 to keep Mexicans from being elected to Tucson City Council. Now it’s said the majority of Tucson voters want to keep that system in place to keep Republicans from being elected.

Proponents of this bill take the stand that city wide voting of all candidates takes away the rights of ward electors to pick the councilmember they want to represent them. Opponents of SCR 1023 claim state wide voting to modify Tucson’s charter, takes away Tucson voter’s rights to choose their own form of elections.  This is the position of the Tucson Mayor and Council who have vowed to fight this legislation.

The Arizona Legislature isn’t the only entity trying to change Tucson’s unique election system. A bipartisan group of Tucson citizens has just launched an initiative drive to persuade the voters of Tucson to allow ward only elections.

Though the courts have upheld that the Tucson voting system is legal, is it fair that the Tucson wards do not have the ability to elect their own representative? In a constitutional democracy, the right to vote should never exercise mob rule.