Firedoglake has this detailed analysis of California’s Proposition 14, the top-two ballot measure in the June 8, 2010 primary. Firedoglake was founded in 2004 by Jane Hamsher, and has received award for being one of the best political blogs. It now has 20 writers. This particular analysis is by Jon Walker. Thanks to Rob Richie for the link.
From the Firedoglake column:
The state of California will likely undergo major changes to its election laws, according to the recent polls from Public Policy Institute of California (PDF). Proposition 14 is currently polling at 60 percent in support and 27 percent opposed, ahead of the June 8th vote.
The ballot initiative would significantly alter the way state office and Congressional elections are carried out, starting in 2012. Unfortunately, the state’s voter guide gives it a deceptive name and summary: “Elections. Increases Right to Participate in Primary Election.”
What it would really do is produce a “Louisiana primary,” were any candidate can complete with any party label attached to his or her name, and all voters voting in the same primary. The top two total vote-getters, regardless of party, would be the only two candidates on the general election ballot in November.
This is not a primary in the way most Americans think of the term. Party members don’t get to vote on who will represent their party in the general election with only one official nominee from each party. Prop. 14 would stop parties from using any means to select their own official nominee to put on the ballot.
This would effectively move the general election to June, with a runoff election many months later, in November. This system in theory could produce a November election between two Republicans, two Democrats, a Republican and a Green, two independents with no party affiliation, etc… Although similar systems have been used in Washington and Louisiana, independents and third parties almost never make it to the general election ballot in the rest of America.
Several Major Problems