Calitics Article Shows How California’s Top-Two Law Has Strengthened Major Party Organizations

David Atkins has this article in Calitics, showing how California’s Proposition 14, the top-two system, has strengthened the state’s major party organizations. The Atkins piece first talks about the U.S. House race, 31st district, in 2012, a story that is somewhat well-known. But then he discusses a little-known aspect of the law, its consequences for elections for party office.

Because there are no partisan primaries in mid-term years, the legislature in 2012 passed a bill giving 4-year terms, instead of 2-year terms, to county central committee members. They are only up for re-election in presidential years, when they can be put on the same partisan primary ballots used for the presidential primary. Giving these party officials 4-year terms instead of 2-year terms reduces internal democracy in the parties.


Calitics Article Shows How California’s Top-Two Law Has Strengthened Major Party Organizations — No Comments

  1. David Atkins is a member of the Ventura County Democratic Central Committee. He probably thinks himself to be a public official, when he is really a party boss. His remarks should be recognized as self-serving.

    Atkins provides incorrect information about the June 2012 CD 31 Top-2 Open Primary, where Republican candidates received a majority of the votes cast. There were not 7 candidates of any flavor, let alone 7 Democrats.

    He is also in error with regard to the size of the central county committees. The Republican and Democratic central committees are of similar size, as dictated by the ill-advised Division 7 of the Elections Code.

    He is correct that the legislature in September 2012 eliminated the election of committee members at public expense every two years. Even better would to eliminate state regulation of the private political organizations.

    SB 1272 was passed by the Assembly on a 79-0 vote. I suspect it was strongly backed by county election officials who realized the expense of a multitude of ballots. For example, in June 2012 there two Democratic ballots – one for the semi-open presidential primary, and one for the closed party committee ballot.

    It is absurd to suggest that because the Libertarian Party in California does not use public-funded elections, that it less internally democratic than other parties.

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