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Political Science Article on How Top-Two has Affected California’s Minor Parties

Political Science Professor Keith Smith has this article about how California’s top-two system has greatly reduced the number of minor party candidates, and also threatened them with losing their qualified status.

6 Responses

  1. Demo Rep

    Attention ALL genius polisci profs in the USA –

    ALL of the major govts in the USA are EVIL and VICIOUS minority rule ANTI-Democracy oligarch regimes – due to rigged pack/crack gerrymander districts in such regimes — since 1776.

    1/2 or less of the votes in a bare majority of the gerrymander districts = 1/4 or less indirectly CONTROL the regime. It shows — EVIL arrogant left/right control freaks with their control freak agendas.

    Remedy -
    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

  2. Jim Riley

    In the 2010 primary for Assembly, the average number of votes received by Green candidates was 166; Libertarian candidate was 312; and Peace&Freedom candidates was 84 (the contested Libertarian primary was counted as a single district.

    In the 2012 primary for Assembly, the average number votes received by Green candidates was 6021; by Libertarian candidates was 4936; and for the Peace&Freedom candidate was 1950.

    Alternatively, the number of votes cast for minor party candidates increased from 6,775 (for 27 districts) to 29,884 (for 6 districts), or a 1885% increase in votes per candidate.

    • Richard Winger

      This comment is very banal. In 2010 the parties you mention had closed primaries, so the candidates could only receive votes in the primary from members of their own parties.

      Supporters of top-two have basically bamboozled almost everyone. Top-two systems don’t “expand voter choice in the primary.” Instead top-two systems abolish the primary. In its place they hold a faux general election, which has no function except to act as a ballot access barrier to the real election.

      • Jim Riley

        The reason those candidates received so few votes was because most voters were banned from voting for them. Voters were free to contribute cash, put up yard signs, serve canapes at campaign events, exhort their coworkers the virtue of a particular candidate, but it was not legally possible for most of them to vote for the candidate they preferred.

        The Open Primary liberated the voters. The results show that the voters were there all along, but were legally disabled from voting their true beliefs.

        You are hung up on labels, and have forgotten that “primary” simply means first. A primary election is the first stage of an election. Under a Top 2 system, the primary winnows the field to the Top 2 candidates. The secondary stage, sometime referred to as a general election, determines the final winner.

        A general election, is simply an election in which most offices are elected, as opposed to a district or city or special election, so it would properly be applied to both stages of the 2014 elections in California.

        • Under the old California system, voters were not banned from voting for any candidate they wished, in partisan primaries. California law let any person file as a write-in in any party’s primary, and permitted write-in voting. Sometimes candidates for partisan office won the nomination of several parties simultaneously, winning the nomination of parties they weren’t members of by write-ins at the primary of that party.

          • Jim Riley

            When were candidates cross-nominated after cross-filing was eliminated in 1952?

            Also you are saying that if an independent candidate received 40% of the vote of the Big Little Party, 40% of the vote of the Little Big Party, 40% of the vote of the the Yet Another Party (YAP), 40% of The Party vote, and 40% of the Unparty Party vote, and unknown support from voters who were banned from voting in the primary, he would not advance to the general election ballot with 40% of the vote, while 5 munchkins with 12% of the vote each would.

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