Riverside County, California Republican Party Posts Independent Political Report Editorial on Prop. 14

Ballot Access News:

The Republican Party of Riverside County, California, has posted Independent Political Report’s Proposition 14 editorial on the party’s website. See the Republican Party’s blog here:


The editorial, originally posted at https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2010/03/editorial-ipr-opposes-proposition-14-in-california/ reads as follows:


Slowly, painfully, the movement to improve ballot access for minor parties and independent candidates has been winning. States in which ballot access is significantly better than it was in 1980 are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming, and also the District of Columbia.

But, ballot access is disastrously worse in the state of Washington. This can largely be blamed on Initiative 872, a measure approved by the voters of Washington in 2004, which was used for the first time in 2008. As a result, for the first time since Washington became a state in 1889, there were no independent or minor party candidates on the November ballot for either Congress or statewide state office-a major step backwards, both for fair and open elections and for ballot access reform advocates. Initiative 872 mandated that only the candidates who place first or second in the primary may be on the general election ballot.

In Washington state in 2004, 45 minor party candidates filed for office, because they had a good chance of appearing on the general election ballot. That was under Washington’s old classic open primary. But under the top-two system, in 2008, only 12 minor party candidates even bothered to file, because they knew that in almost all cases, they had no chance to be on the November ballot. They hated to waste their filing fee money when they faced a certainty of being washed out of the general election campaign season.

Now the Washington-style system is threatening to be enacted in California. The California version is even worse than the Washington system, where candidates can at least choose any party label they wish to appear on the primary ballot next to their names. Additionally, if a party isn’t ballot-qualified, it can still place its presidential nominee on the November ballot with only 1,000 signatures in Washington.

By contrast, if California’s Prop. 14 passes, the only way a minor party will be able to remain ballot-qualified, and to at least have its presidential nominee on the ballot, will be to have approximately 100,000 registered members. Prop. 14 deletes the existing method by which parties remain qualified, that they poll 2% for a statewide race in a midterm year (they get a free ride in presidential years). So the only method left is that they have registration of 1% of the last gubernatorial vote, which will probably be at least 100,000 after November 2010.

Supporters of Prop. 14 can’t come up with any pro-democracy reason to vote for the measure, except that it lets independents vote in all primaries as a matter of law. But already, independent voters in California are free to vote in any Democratic or Republican primary for Congress or state office. So already, independents in California are treated better than registered Republicans or Democrats. Registered Republicans can only vote in the Republican primary (although anyone can switch parties 2 weeks before the primary), and the same goes for Democrats. But independents on primary day can choose which major party primary to vote in. Proponents of Prop. 14 are always pointing out that the primary means more than the general, in most legislative and US House districts, because most of the districts are strongly Democratic or strongly Republican. But any independent voter who can figure that out, is free to choose the primary ballot of the dominant major party. The idea that independent voters in California are abused doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

Furthermore, proponent of Prop 14 have suggested that their system will result in more moderate candidates being elected-but history and experience do not support this claim. In Louisiana’s 1991 gubernatorial election, an open primary was held, very similar in structure to the one Prop 14 suggests, which resulted in the advancement of two extreme candidates. The runoff election was between David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the KKK, and Edwin Edwards, the corrupt incumbent governor. More centrist candidates, Buddy Roemer and Clyde C. Holloway, missed the runoff. More importantly, in the general election there were only the two options-resulting in a pathetic election and humorous bumper stickers that read, “Vote for the Crook, It’s Important” and “Vote for the Lizard, Not the Wizard”.

FairVote did an extensive analysis of the claim that Prop 14, or it’s Washington or Louisiana counterparts, result in moderation, which can be found here. Richard Winger has also done some important reporting on the subject here.

The measure is sometimes referred to as “Top Two”, and for good reason, it wants to limit voter’s choices in November to only the top two, instead of giving them the full range of electoral choices that should be available to them.

In the meantime, corporations and politicians are funneling money towards the Prop 14 effort by the millions. Third parties and their activists don’t have access to that kind of money, but they do have access to the truth about Prop 14, thanks to the hard work of activists like Christina Tobin and Richard Winger. We at Independent Political Report stand with the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, Californians for Electoral Reform, and the Coalition for Free and Open Elections against Prop 14.

Signed,

The Editorial Board of Independent Political Report

12 thoughts on “Riverside County, California Republican Party Posts Independent Political Report Editorial on Prop. 14

  1. Trent Hill

    Im curious as to whether can get other Republican Party GOP groups to post it. We have some leverage since one group already did.

  2. paulie Post author

    You may want to see about contacting some. Good idea. BAN and others have covered various groups that have come out for and against prop 14/88*

    *obscure sarcasm.

  3. Trent Hill

    We only covered this because it has something to do with third parties and IPR.

  4. Michael Seebeck, in RivCo but not GOP

    Interesting the local GOP, who actually is the dominant political party locally, is working this. One would think that locally the Dems would be all over this and the local GOP would be silent. There might actually be a welcome shift leftward to the middle in RivCo politics going on behind the scenes. Hard to say. Of course, the Riverside dePress-ed Enterprise has nothing noticeable on their site about it.

  5. Trent Hill

    Mike,

    I think the GOP in Riverside is probably against Prop 14 because they want to pick their own candidates rather than having democrats and independents influencing their candidate choice. The theory goes that closed primaries result in more conservative nominees for the GOP.

  6. Gene Berkman

    The California Republican Party has already called for defeat of Proposition 14, so you can use that to get other GOP committees to run your editorial.

    Trent, you are right that the Republicans want to keep their primary closed.

    Under California law, each party can decide whether to let independents vote in their primary. Independents can vote in the Democrat primary or the AIP primary; they can vote in the Republican primary for anything except President.

    Republicans only open their primary to independents because of competition from Democrats. Libertarians have a closed primary, in effect telling independent voters they are not welcome in our party. Pathetic.

  7. Richard Winger

    This year the AIP, under the state government-recognized leadership, changed the AIP rules, so that independents may no longer vote in the AIP primary.

  8. Michael Seebeck, in RivCo but not GOP

    I see an LP county chair is denigrating his own party again…such wonderful local leadership my county has…

  9. a saving grace .......... Lake

    Look beyond the county, you apparently have nooooooooooo idea of the sorry reputation and lack of ethics Libs have on the west coast. Feel free to thank Brian Holtz, Edward Tessiler, Bruce Cohen and Richard Rider any time!

    By the way, I first contacted the Press Enterprise and then Inland Empire Weekly only after our support of Erin Brockovich (earlier) and the anti sludge works grass roots now protecting Hinkley / Barstow (Calilfornia) from politically enhanced environmental degradation which prompted a recent print article. [] []

  10. Pingback: Republican Party of California Actively Works Against Prop 14 | Independent Political Report

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