California Assemblymember Tim Donnelly has completely revised one of his election law bills, AB 1170, so that all the contents are new. The new contents alter the definition of “political party”, so that the 2% vote test (which is only applied in midterm years) is now applied in the June primary instead of the November election. The bill has a hearing in the Assembly Elections Committee on Wednesday, January 15, at 9 a.m.
The reason this change makes it easier for parties to remain ballot-qualified is that under the top-two system, it will be almost impossible for minor party members to ever be on the November ballot for a statewide race in midterm years.
By coincidence, another California legislator has also been planning to introduce a bill to make it easier for a party to remain ballot-qualified, but that other bill isn’t introduced yet. It is expected that the other bill, when it is introduced, will lower the number of registered voters for a party to be ballot-qualified from 1% of the last gubernatorial vote, to one-third of 1% of the total state registration. That would lower the registration requirement from approximately 110,000 members to 60,000 members. That bill would also provide that the 2% vote test (which is an alternative to meeting the registration test) could be met in either June or November.