FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2013
Contact: C. T. Weber, 916-422-5395 or 916-320-9186 and Marsha Feinland, 510-845-7251
Analysis of California's 'Top Two' Election in 2012: Fewer Californians Voted in 2012, and Their Ballot Choices Limited; Smaller Political Parties Say They Want to Rescue Voter Choice
SACRAMENTO – Fewer Californians are voting, and their choice at the ballot box has been drastically curtailed since the imposition of Proposition 14 – the so-called 'Top Two" primary, according to an analysis just released by the Peace and Freedom Party, Green Party and Libertarian Party of California.
In a joint statement (here), the political parties noted that despite the claim that a so-called “open” primary would generate greater voter interest, only 31 percent of registered voters turned out in the June 2012 primary election in California.
And as the fate of smaller parties becomes increasingly precarious, only 73 percent of the electorate remains registered in one of the two major parties, with only 67 percent of voters aged 18 to 34 choosing either Democrat or Republican. Fewer people are voting and fewer participate in the two large parties.
The smaller party statement also points to a "steep decline" in the number of candidates from smaller political parties on primary ballots in California between 2008 (pre "Top Two") and 2012 (when "Top Two" began). The number of congressional candidates fell, since 2008, by 68 percent, accompanied by a 72 percent decline in the number of smaller party candidates running for state legislature.
Signatures required to qualify for the primary ballot under "Top Two," narrowly approved in 2010 by voters, have dramatically increased for smaller parties – from roughly 150 to 10,000 for statewide offices. Smaller parties do not have the infrastructure to gather large numbers of signatures or pay the filing fees for multiple offices. As a result, the smaller party candidates either have to pay expensive filing fees or not run at all,
The statement recognized that "Top Two" makes it almost impossible for small party candidates to appear on the general election ballot in November. Without fielding candidates in elections, the smaller parties will have great difficulty maintaining ballot status, the report/analysis continued.
"Top Two" creates "false majorities" for the major parties, according to the analysis. Before Proposition 14, candidates from the smaller parties generally received five percent to 20 percent collectively of the general election vote. In 2012, no Green Party, Libertarian Party or American Independent Party candidate qualified for the November ballot, so voter choice for a major portion of voters was eliminated or severely limited.
The smaller parties are lobbying the California State Legislature in Sacramento because the Legislature can reduce or exacerbate the harm that this law does to the smaller parties and the voters who support them.
The California Peace and Freedom Party is the only socialist and feminist political party on the ballot in California. It is the largest socialist party (as measured by voter registration) in the United States. Visit http://www.peaceandfreedom.org.