Monday, March 08, 2010

California Proposition 14, Top Two Primaries Act (June 2010) - Ballotpedia

California Proposition 14, Top Two Primaries Act (June 2010) - Ballotpedia: "A California Top Two Primaries Act ballot proposition is on the June 8, 2010 ballot in California as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment.

If approved by voters, the proposal will require that candidates run in a single primary open to all registered voters, with the top two vote-getters meeting in a runoff. The new system would take effect in the 2012 elections.[1]

Specifically, it would provide for a 'voter-nominated primary election' for each state elective office and congressional office in California. Voters could vote in the primary election for any candidate for a congressional or state elective office without regard to the political party affiliations of either the candidate or the voter. Candidates could choose whether or not to have their political party affiliation displayed on the ballot.

The proposition also prohibits political parties from nominating candidates in a primary, although political parties would be allowed to endorse, support or oppose candidates. Elections for presidential candidates, and for members of political party committees and party central steering committees would not fall under the 'top two' system."
This already failed in 2004. Apparently the idea is to produce two moderate candidates in the general election, instead of a left-wing democrat and a right-wing republican nominated by the foaming-at-the-mouth partisans of their respective parties. The Greens and Libertarians and other minor parties think, correctly, that this will wipe them out entirely because they will never, ever, be number one or number two in the primary, so they won't be on the general election ballot at all.

1 comment:

Don Nordeen said...

There is a prior post on Privatopia on this. The concept involved is used by two states: Washington and Louisiana. From my research, it does produce the intended result which is to not elect the candidates with extreme left or extreme right views. Of course, the idea is opposed by the political parties.

A Google search on [washington primary "top two"] produces many articles on the subject. A good summary of the Washington plan including the history is in State's 'Top Two' primary upheld by U.S. justices.

A more recent analysis was published by the Economist in The centrist north-west, but you must be a subscriber to read.

What the election process does is to select the top-two vote getters in the primary from among all the candidates. Then the general election has only the top-two vote getters. The overall effect is that elections are decided by a vote of all the people.

In the convention party primary system, the candidates are selected by only those who vote in the party primary. In jurisdictions with a majority party, this amounts to overall election but is decided by only part of the electorate.

In the case where the top-two vote getters are two Republicans or two Democrats, election by all the votes tends not to elect those on the extreme left or extreme right.

Now if we really want large change, apply the same process to the election of committee chairs in the House and Senate. If done, I believe the political demographics of the chairs would look more like the political demographics of the citizens.