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June 22, 2004

Richman's 'Open' Primary Initiative

Warren Olney reports an interesting controversy in California politics. I'm clearly biased in favor of the status quo which was rescued by some legislative fancy footwork in the State Senate.

Almost a million California voters signed petitions circulated by Democratic State Controller Steve Westly and Republican Richard Riordan to put the Voter Choice Open Primary Act on Novembers ballot. It would establish nonpartisan primary elections in California, a move other leaders of both parties label un-Democratic. So, yesterday, by a 28-to-3 vote, the State Senate passed a competing measure to maintain party primaries pretty much as they are. Supporters of the Voter Choice Act call yesterdays measure a Trojan Horse. Warren Olney previews the latest fight over open primaries with State Senator Ross Johnson, author of the bipartisan legislation, and Assemblyman Keith Richman, who supports the Open Primary initiative.

The way I see it is simple. Richman's idea makes it 'two winners take all'. You have a primary and the top two votegetters advance to the general election. It could be two Greens, two Republicans, two anything. The ultimate result is that in the general election you'll only have two choices, and if your party is not represented, you have no choice but to vote for the top two.

Needless to say, this will dramatically change the dynamic of primary elections. This means that strategically interesting jurisdictions can be stacked with candidates with money. It basically means smaller ballots and less choice. Not a good idea.

Posted by mbowen at June 22, 2004 08:38 PM

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The democrats are trying that crap here in Washington with I-875.

I told a signature gatherer where he could put that particular petition.

Posted by: robert at June 24, 2004 05:15 PM

It makes no sense what so ever.

Posted by: DarkStar at June 24, 2004 06:59 PM