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Press release: Washington State’s Third Party Leaders Issue Anti-Proposition 14 Statement

Sent to by Free and Equal:

Leaders from Washington State’s Third Party Coalition released a statement today urging California voters to vote no on Proposition 14. The coalition is comprised of the American Heritage Party, Constitution Party, Green Party, Libertarian Party, and Progressive Party.

Here is the full text of the statement:

The Top Two Primary System in Action — The Experience of Third Parties in Washington State

The original Election System in the state included the classic “blanket” Primary in which voters could select among all candidates at will, with the highest vote recipient in each party moving up to the General Election. This provided equal access for all political parties and independents, by simply following the ballot access rules. For whatever reason, this very equitable process was deemed to be unworkable and replaced with another system.

This new “Pick-a-Party” Election System effectively forced the voting populace to choose between being a Republican or a Democrat in order to have a voice. The voter was asked to sign an oath stating their intentions to vote for one of the two major parties. The voter would then select one of two ballots to fill out — one for Republican or one for Democrat — plus one for non-partisan offices and issues. This was designed to benefit the major parties by preventing “cross-over” voters from one party trying to skew the election for the other party. This limited the voter from exercising his or her right to vote for the candidate of their choice since Third Party and Independent voters were eliminated from the process.

The Top Two Election System was originally viewed as a viable option to the “Pick-a-Party” Election System within the state, but sad experience has shown us that the Top Two Primary is a deceptive practice. While it does make access to the Primary ballot quite easy for Third Parties, it effectively blocks access to the General Election, by limiting ballot choices to only the top two vote getters in any election.

Here’s how it works:

  • A candidate from any party or an independent simply files and pays his or her filing fee as prescribed by law.
  • A candidate states in the voter’s guide and on the ballot that he or she “prefers the Green Party” or “prefers…”, whatever party one prefers but does not need an official party endorsement to use the name of a given party as a preference.
  • The election is held and the top two vote getters, no matter party preference, move on to the General Election.

What could be wrong with this plan? Let the experience of the Constitution Party of Washington be your guide.

Under the laws of the State of Washington, if a “Minor Party” earns 5% of the vote for a statewide office in a General Election, they become re-classified as a “Major Party.” In 2008, the Constitution Party of Washington’s candidates for State Auditor and for Secretary of State received over 6% of the vote in the Primary Election. They were prevented from moving in the General Election by the Top Two Rule. Had they been able to do so, they were well positioned to achieve the 5% requirement for the Constitution Party of Washington to achieve “Major Party” status, for voter turnout is generally expected to be higher in the General Election than the Primary, especially in a presidential year, which it was. This same situation would apply equally to all Third Party and Independent candidates.

The ultimate result of the Top Two Election System is that there are no longer any “Minor Parties” officially recognized by the State of Washington. The Secretary of State’s website only lists two political parties as existing in the state, Republican and Democratic. A visitor to the website will not be able to locate any other party as existing within the state. When questioned about it by the Constitution Party of Washington, Carolyn Berger from the Office of the Secretary of State sent this reply:

“As a result of approved Top Two Primary legislation which gives no specific way to identify minor parties, we now only have contact information for the Democratic and Republican Parties on our website. The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, I believe, tracks political action committees.”

So there are officially NO “Minor Parties” in the State of Washington, only “Political Action Committees”.

Let us reiterate this FACT: the result of the Top Two Election System is the systematic elimination of any choice for voters other than Republican or Democrat in the General Election, unless a “Minor Party” can overcome one of the two “Major Parties” in the Primary!

We, the 3rd Party Coalition of Washington, by sad experience, do hereby URGE California voters to vote NO on PROPOSITION 14, if they wish to retain their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote for the candidate of their choice in each and every election!

American Heritage Party of Washington
Paul McClintock, Chairman

Constitution Party of Washington
Robert W. Peck, Chairman
Karen Y. Murray, Vice-Chairman/Communications Director

Green Party of Washington
Kara Ceriello, former Chair

Libertarian Party
Rachel Hawkridge, Chair

Progressive Party of Washington
Linde Knighton, Chair
John deLeeuw, Treasurer


  1. jerry jerry June 8, 2010

    YES ON 14!!!!

  2. jerry jerry June 8, 2010

    Parties are over….True leaders are in.
    Forget the party system…it means nothing.. MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF THE COMING OF THE LORD…..PEOPLE NOT PARTY parties have been the problem all along…..

  3. Alan Pyeatt Alan Pyeatt June 5, 2010

    Jerry @ 6: Ron Paul is NOT “business as usual.” Likewise, since you brought up Art Olivier, I would like to point out that as a City Council member, he broke up the “good old boy” network that existed in Bellflower, CA. I know because I used to work right beside a former mayor of Bellflower, whose wife was on the council when Olivier was elected. Definitely NOT business as usual.

    There is absolutely no reason to assume that Libertarian Party candidates (or others) will automatically turn into quislings and yes men when we start getting more of them in office.

  4. Alan Pyeatt Alan Pyeatt June 5, 2010

    It’s great that the coalition has spoken about their actual experience with Top Two. But I have to wonder if any of them asked Cynthia McKinney how the “very equitable process” of open primaries worked out for her (

    Top Two is even worse, especially in light of the recent revelations of President Obama’s shenanigans in the Colorado and Pennsylvania primaries.

    Even Prop 14’s supporters say that the measure was specifically designed to reduce the diversity of viewpoints in our government. Prop 14 reduces diversity in the Republican and Democratic Parties too, not just third parties.

  5. Rachel H Rachel H June 4, 2010

    @jerry –

    TopTwo is affirmative action for Ds and Rs. We want a level playing field.

    More choice, not less. Equal opportunity, not equal outcome.

    None of us is asking for “special treatment”; that’s what they are getting – the Ds and Rs.

  6. Thx ......... Don Lake Thx ......... Don Lake June 4, 2010

    ‘jerry’ seems to have put a lot of thot into the ‘situation’ and as some one whom has been highly suspicious of the Democans and the Republicrats since the Nixon and JFK debacle, er, ah, um debate of 1960. I sure appreciate the effort.

  7. jerry jerry June 4, 2010

    It would be an ever evolving process for third parties…and change never happens over night…just like “affirmative action.”

  8. jerry jerry June 4, 2010

    That third parties…won’t “rally” enough support …if prop 14 passes.
    Now, on the other hand…just like those that say “affirmative action” hurts minorites…because it actually lets people that would not “qualify” under “normal” circumstances a chance to enter colleges….so…Do the third parties want to be thought of like this? Or should THIRD parties UP their game…to be on the same level…and to be thought of IN the same way as the top two parties??

  9. jerry jerry June 4, 2010

    here’s what I render from this…..those, against prop 14….are in a way….saying they like systems or programs like “affirmative action.” Let me explain….just like those that think that minorities only had a shot by having a program like “affirmative action”….you are in a sense saying that third parties don’t have a shot…without the polling practices we have now… some way the third parties are “inferior” to the top two parties…lets discuss this….

  10. kevin knedler kevin knedler June 4, 2010

    Everyday, as consumers, we want and make choices.
    So let me get this straight for those that LIKE Prop 14.
    If someone wants to buy a cola, the choice is Coke or Pepsi with no room for RC Cola.
    If someone wants to buy a car, the choice is Ford or Honda, with no room for GM or any other make.
    If someone wants to go to grocery, its Wal-Mart or something like Krogers, with no room for Whole Foods or Trader Joes.

    Seems like we are only one party away from having only one party. That puts us in a league with China, North Korea, etc.

  11. Michael Seebeck Michael Seebeck June 3, 2010

    Trent, I think that’s “is running”, not “did run”–the primary ends next week. 🙂

    But you’re right about running with the demographics.

    Art had done so much with the LP that he gets the benefit of the doubt on this one.

  12. Prop 14 Supporter Prop 14 Supporter June 2, 2010

    Great persuasive arguments Jerry. Prop 14 is headed for victory, and there’s nothing these idiots can do to stop it.

  13. Rachel H Rachel H June 2, 2010

    Great story! :o)

  14. Trent Hill Trent Hill June 2, 2010

    Art Olivier did run as a Democrat–his issues did not change, but he wisely chose to run with the demographics. I, for one, think he’s smart for doing it.

  15. NewFederalist NewFederalist June 2, 2010

    Hey jerry- I cast my first vote in ’64 and things haven’t gotten better since then. If two parties are good then why isn’t just one even better?

  16. jerry jerry June 2, 2010

    Once these jokers (politicians) ANy of them get in Its “business as usual.” I am not living in an idealistic fantasy world. I have been voting since Nixon…It all smells the same…..Without big money, candidates don’t get in thats it….thats all…The lies…just blend into one thin line now…I am a realist and I think any candidate that promotes progressive change will get my vote THE PARTIES ARE GONE…so if you are smart and you want to win you will get the monied group to back you…its just smart politics….is it right? Probably not…but, look at the stats….perfect example..This guy Art Olivier…was a libertarian…okay he lives in a solid DEMOCRATIC AREA of Los Angeles…I mean solid…so what party does he go with Democratic. He has about 4 other candidates running under dem as well…He decided he wanted a made a complete 180….went to dem from libertarian? quite a change…

  17. NewFederalist NewFederalist June 2, 2010

    Gosh jerry, you sound like a government worker. I guess you don’t want any change at all. If only one party could do the job is there any reason for two? That model has worked well in lots of places like the USSR and Zimbabwe.

  18. Joe Murphy Joe Murphy June 2, 2010

    Hey Jerry you cant gain any recognition if you are not in the general election. Lets get rid of primaries and let everyone in the general election. Also jerry you assume one of the two big parties own our vote, they dont. Siphoning votes is a lie, I vote for who I want.

  19. Jill Pyeatt Jill Pyeatt June 2, 2010

    So, jerry, how’s the two-party system working for you?

  20. jerry jerry June 2, 2010

    If third parties can’t get enough votes to win over all…then its too bad. If the dems and reps HAVE more people voting for them…thats the way it is. Even with third parties listed…and siphoning votes they really never have a shot….its sour grapes…IF third parties really rally and GET as many voters as the dems or reps…then they have game.

  21. Timothy Choate Timothy Choate June 2, 2010

    What can we do to stop this infringement of our constitutional rights in Washington state? I never want to vote for the Duploy system again in my life!

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