Ballot Barrier: Will Proposition 62 Limit Voter Choice in California?

Ballot Barrier: Will Proposition 62 Limit Voter Choice in California?

October 4, 2004
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In November 2004, California will vote on Proposition 62: “The Voter-Choice Open Primary Act.” Currently, voters may vote for the nominees of only one political party. Proposition 62 would replace this “modified-closed” system of party primaries with one in which all candidates for state or federal offices (except for presidential electors) run in a single primary election and only the top-two vote recipients are allowed to run in the general election. 

This study of Proposition 62 questions how well it is likely to achieve its stated aims. After a careful analysis of relevant court opinions, California’s blanket primary and Louisiana’s “top-two” primary, it concludes that Proposition 62 would be less effective at increasing voter participation, choice, privacy, fairness, or the moderation of candidates, than other electoral reforms, while risking significant reductions in voter choice and participation in general elections.
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