February 27, 2010

Voters to Consider Open Primary Initiative in June

IN A few months voters will be asked to decide on an initiative that would change the way election primaries are run for statewide and congressional elections.

Supporters say it would dramatically decrease the partisan gridlock that plagues Sacramento. Opponents charge it would increase the power of money in campaigns.

The initiative, Proposition 14, is known as the open primary. It would result in all the candidates in a race being put on one primary ballot, rather than each party holding its own primary.

Voters would chose any candidate, regardless of party, and the top two vote-getters would advance to the general election, even if they are from the same party.

"It will reform, transform, end the gridlock and chaos in Sacramento," said state Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, the initiative's author.

John Burton, chairman of the California Democratic Party, disagrees.

"Anybody who thinks it is going to end gridlock must be smoking dope," Burton said. "This is not going to change anything except probably you will have more business- friendly people coming out of some kind of primary, but not good for the environment or working men and women of the state."

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1 comment:

richardwinger said...

Prop. 14 injures voting rights in some ways not mentioned in this article. It abolishes write-in votes for Congress and state office in November. Three times, Californians have elected people to congress by write-in vote in November (1930, 1946, 1982).

Also, the measure increases the difficult of a ballot-qualified minor party remaining on the ballot. Existing law lets them remain on if they poll 2% for any statewide race in a mid-term year. But Prop. 14 says parties would no longer have nominees (except for President, which isn't up in midterm years), so the vote test would be inoperative. So parties would need registration of approximately 100,000 members. Peace & Freedom, which only has 58,000, would go off the ballot.