California Bills Advance, Would Make One-Candidate Elections More Common

On May 23, the California Assembly passed AB 141, which says that when a primary write-in candidate for Congress or partisan state office places second in the primary, he or she still can’t advance to the general election, unless the write-in total was quite large. For U.S. House, about 2,300 write-ins would be required; for State Senate 3,000; for Assembly 1,500; for statewide office 120,000.

If this bill had been in effect in 2012, California voters would have seen eight one-candidate elections on their ballot, instead of just two. The only minor party candidates who appeared on the November 2012 ballot (for office other than President) were three Peace & Freedom candidates for the legislature. All three came in second in the primary on write-in votes, which was easy to do because only one person was on the primary ballot in each of the three races.

On May 24, the California Assembly Appropriations Committee passed the companion measure, ACA 9. AB 141 can’t go into effect unless the voters approve a constitutional amendment, so if both ACA 9 and AB 141 are signed into law, they will be subject to a popular vote in June 2014.

Only two Democrats in the Assembly voted against AB 141, even though it has a Republican sponsor. They are Tom Ammiano and Mike Gatto. Republicans voting against AB 141 are Travis Allen, Connie Conway, Tim Donnelly, Curt Hagman, Allan Mansoor, and Jim Patterson.


California Bills Advance, Would Make One-Candidate Elections More Common — 4 Comments

  1. Wow. this effort, AB 141, does a lot.

    1) The real motives of the top-two crowd are made more clear and many more officeholders are now among those that should be held accountable for the continued existence of this tyrannical format. AB 141 will further confine electoral contests to those well inside the political class as it abolishes even longshot challenges, as if the top-two format did not go far enough in that regard.

    2) By amending top-two in this way, legislatiors are basically ratifying top-two and wish it to be intensified.

    3) Voters get to weigh in on AB 141. The hope here is that the debate will be at least good enough to have voters vote in favor of voters, electoral contests in which the outcomes are truly not known before the vote, where parties and politically nonestablished candidacies get the opportunity to display what integrity they might have.

  2. I wonder how far California will go in limiting its democracy. Also, “one-candidate elections” made me laugh… in a sad way.

  3. All gerrymander systems —
    1/2 votes x 1/2 gerrymander areas = 1/4 [or less] CONTROL indirectly.

    i.e. the ENTIRE USA and ALL State regimes and many, many local regimes.

    i.e. for MORONS – the 3 USA gerrymander systems were stuck over (in a separate layer) the State gerrymander systems in 1788-1789.
    Remedy – P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

  4. The more likely explanation is that the Democrats are attempting to deliberately sabotage Top 2.

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