Tag: Proposition 14

Top Two Elections: Bad for Democracy

In June of this year your ballot changed dramatically. Except for the Presidential primary (which hasn’t changed), you no longer vote in a primary election for candidates to represent your political party in November. Instead, you vote on which two candidates get to run again in the fall. The party labels that appear next to the candidates’ names have little meaning because political parties no longer control the use of their names.

But you aren’t seeing the real change until November, when you have only two choices. They might well both be Democrats or both be Republicans. “Top two” elections relegate small party and independent candidates to June when fewer people turn out to vote. Three Peace and Freedom candidates for the state legislature did make it to the November ballot this year because we took advantage of a one-time opportunity created when only one other candidate was on the ballot. The Republicans and Democrats will see to it that this doesn’t happen again.

Blame Prop. 14, passed in June 2010 as a result of several million dollars worth of advertising by big business friends of Arnold Schwarzenegger. They thought that by weakening political parties, both large and small, they could use their money more efficiently to influence elections. We think it’s unconstitutional and are joining with other plaintiffs to challenge it in court.