Over 425,000 California Voters Voted for President but Left U.S. Senate Blank

California still hasn’t counted all its ballots from November 6, 2012. So far, there are 426,876 more votes cast for President than for U.S. Senate. For President, voters had a choice of six presidential candidates listed on the ballot, plus write-in space. But for U.S. Senate, they could only vote for a Democrat and a Republican, with no write-in space.

Of course, it is normal for some voters to vote for President and then no other offices in California and all other states. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to believe that many more votes would have been cast for U.S. Senate in California this year if voters had had more choices.


Over 425,000 California Voters Voted for President but Left U.S. Senate Blank — 19 Comments

  1. “Nevertheless, it is reasonable to believe that many more votes would have been cast for U.S. Senate in California this year if voters had had more choices.”

    Well, duh! Marvel concept. As I always have said, f#$% top two to the utmost and its f@$ci$t proponents.

  2. Richard,
    How many registered Libartarians, Greens, Constitutionalists in CA? My guess is about 426,000!

  3. How many registered Libertarians, Greens, Constitutionalists in CA? My guess is about 426,000!

    Much less. AIP has more, but they no longer affiliate with the Constitution Party.

    There are many people who would vote Green and Libertarian who don’t necessarily register with those parties, and others who do register with those parties but don’t necessarily vote for them.

  4. California has 115,034 registered Greens, and 108,736 registered Libertarians, and 61,987 registered Peace & Freedom Party members. There are also 3,313 Americans Elect registrants and 477,129 American Independent Party registrants, and some registered into unqualified parties. The largest unqualified party is Reform, which has 17,937.

  5. To Slam In Y-Trip

    The AIP suggested to its party electors before the election not to vote for either of the top-two for Senate.

    Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg, Vice Chairman, AIP

  6. In 2004, the last election with both a senate and a presidential race, the differential was 3.04%. In 2012, the difference is 3.45%.

    But 2012 has a stronger set of minor party presidential candidates (eg Johnson and Stein vs. Badnarik and Cobb).

    In 2000, the differential was 3.23%

  7. I can proudly say that I cast my vote Barr-Sheehan for the national ticket and left my ballot blank for the non-choice between Feinstein and Emken.
    Now the real question is “How do we replace Top Two with a voting system that is meaningful?”

  8. #9-What would you call a primary voting system where I can pick a major party candidate, a minor party candidate, and an independent on the same ballot for different positions?

  9. #10, a blanket primary. Blanket primaries don’t injure voter choice in November. I wish CUIP would work for blanket primaries instead of top-two primaries.

  10. 11-Also I would show the candidates party preference but also an indication of the parties endorsed candidate.

    What new process would you have for a party to become qualified.

    In NY, we use the Governor’s election and how many votes are cast on the party lines. But that ignores the actual number of voters registered in the party. In the last election, the Independence Party was moved from the 3rd slot to the 5th slot, but has more registered voters than all the other minor parties combined.

  11. I never really bought the the arguments that were used by the proponents in California regarding the “Top Top” Primary.

    Heck, I think even Newsweek seemed to buy into the argument that it would lead to more centrist/pragmatic folk getting elected. Yes, I actually liked Newsweek and respected much of its reporting, but when I saw this little blip praising the passage of the amendment, I wrote them a little reply, which they choose not to publish.

    Primaries exist so that the ‘average’ Jane and Joe Six-pack (if you will0 of a given party (Democrat, Republican, Green, Libertarian, Socialist, Monster Raving Looney, Etc) can vote who they want to represent said party in the general.

    This replaced the practice whereby candidates were simply chosen by party leaders and the average party member had little, to no say.

    So, right off the bat I get leery of the idea that primaries can be effective in making politics more moderate/pragmatic (not a bad idea…in theory) or that it should be used as a tool to limit voter choice (First/14th Amendment issues and all of that).

    Personally, I suggest that Californians create a broad, multi-party coalition (not all Democrats like two top) to repeal the top two thing and get something like IRV installed.

    Much of the complaints (I think) came from problems with the State budget in California and getting a budget approved that the liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans wanted. That may need to get looked at, Top Two does not really seem to be designed to fix that.

  12. #13 Voters really aren’t very good at ranking candidates. How would IRV work if there were 60 contests on the ballot?

    If there are not some other cues on the ballot transfers tend to be somewhat random. They are not that decisive. In San Francisco, transfers tend to be strongest when there is a racial or ethnic cue. San Francisco once elected a supervisor who did not live in the city, in part because he campaigned on voting for the 3 Asian candidates (San Francisco voters only get 3 choices). In another election, an Asian candidate almost defeated a Black candidate in a district that was plurality Black. There were many candidates, and many got about the same number of votes. The two Asian candidates reportedly hated each other and had little in common politically, but there where strong transfers between the two. There were many Black candidates and they were dispersed, and many voters don’t know how to vote effectively.

    In a conventional runoff, the voters get a second chance to consider their vote. In 3 of the 7 Republican vs Republican Assembly contests in California, the 2nd place candidate in the primary won the election, all decisively. In 3 other contests, the leader in the primary won decisively in the general election. Only in one case was the final result about the same as the the primary.

    Imagine if you went to a restaurant, and were told to rank all the entrees, in case they were out of some of them. You might not pay too much attention to your later rankings. But if instead they came back and said that your favorite was not available, you would take a second look at the menu, and choose again.

  13. #14 In California, parties may have their endorsement appear in the voters guide which is distributed to all voters before the election.

    There is no longer a reason for California to have the high qualification standard for parties. A party preference is what the candidate believes, it does not indicate endorsement by the party. There is no reason to limit a candidate to expressing a preference for a more popular party (besides being unconstitutional). The voters will take that into account.

    California does have a reasonable interest in making sure that a party really exists. California does ballots in 15 languages, and they may have to make sure names are not confusing. But that can be done with a much smaller membership. Instead of 100,000 registrants, 100 would do as well.

    California would have an interest analogous to how it handles corporations. It needs to make sure that the name is not confusing; that the shareholders have ultimate control over the corporation; that there are responsible officers who represent the corporation; that the corporation is financially responsible. The State doesn’t really care what business the corporation is in, or whether it is successful.

    A political party needs a name. The party registrants should control the party, perhaps there could be a requirement for a biennial state convention. The party should report its contributions and expenditures. The State doesn’t care what the platform of the party is, or whether it has a lot of candidates or they win or lose.

    There are possibly some privileges that might be associated with party size. Some States choose poll workers based on recommendations of larger parties. Perhaps only larger parties could make recommendations. Perhaps 0.05% of the registrants in a state or district would be needed. In California, this is 8,500 voters, so it is not a trivial amount, but not insurmountable. Or maybe even these limitations are not needed.

    California could also switch to an Open Presidential Primary. Any candidate who wanted to be on the general election could file, along with his 55 presidential elector candidates. A candidate who got 1% of the vote would appear on the general election ballot. A candidate could supplement their vote with signatures from voters who didn’t vote in the primary.

    Withdrawing candidates could transfer their votes to other candidates.

    The political parties could do whatever they chose to do with the votes.

    Require a majority in November, with a runoff in December.

  14. On IRV, no matter how many candidates are on the ballot, I decide how many to rank.

    For Party Primaires – I would call them candidate selection processes, they decide the method, the parties pay for them, then on the Blanket ballot each candidate can express party preference but there would also be a indication, like a * or other sysmbol, to indicate the party preference from their selection process.

  15. #18 In San Francisco, voters are restricted to 3 choices. The ballot is confusing, and many voters don’t vote effectively.

    The conventional presumption is that a voter would vote for Nader, and then express a preference between Gore or Bush. But in reality, voters vote 1. Nader; 2. Buchanan 3. Nader.

    If you were interviewing a prospective employee, and he stuck his shoelaces up his nostrils, you’d figure that he was mentally impaired and not hire him. If a voter does the same, it is presumed that it is his right, and how dare we question his freedom.

    A conventional election with a runoff simplifies the question for voters to: who do you want to be elected (period). And then a second round permits additional debate, and another choice.

    In California and Washington and Louisiana, political parties are quite free to determine which candidates they support and communicate that to the voters.

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