Thomas Palzer and his Organization File Proposed California Constitutional Initiative to Restore Semi-Closed Primaries

On August 11, Thomas E. Palzer and his organization Foundation to Stop Top Two filed a proposed constitutional initiative with the California Attorney General.  Here is the text.  It would return California to the system used between 2001 and 2010.  Parties would again have their own nominees and their own primary ballots.  Each party would decide for itself whether to let independent voters vote in its primaries.

When California had this system 2001-2010, both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party always let independent voters vote in their congressional and state office primaries.  The press frequently did not understand that.  There was confusion because in 2008 the California Republican Party did not allow independents to vote in its presidential primary, but it did allow independents to vote in the Republican primary for congress and partisan state office.

The California top-two system, on the ballot in June 2010, was not an initiative.  The California legislature voted to put it on the ballot.

The Foundation to Stop Top Two is seeking contributions to help pay for the petition drive, which can’t start until the Attorney General processes the submission.  Probably the initiative will be ready to start circulating in late October or early November.

Thomas Palzer is a Republican Party activist, but his group is non-partisan.  It can be reached at PO Box 2413 Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91729,  The group is working to set up organizations in each county.  See


Thomas Palzer and his Organization File Proposed California Constitutional Initiative to Restore Semi-Closed Primaries — 12 Comments

  1. Does ZERO about minority rule gerrymanders —

    thus is worthless.

    NO primaries.

    PR and AppV

  2. How about:

    (1) All elections, including for Presidential Elector, shall be direct elections. Election shall require a majority of votes cast for all candidates for an office.

    (2) No person shall be denied the right to vote for any candidate for any office at any election on the basis of their political beliefs or partisan affiliation. The State of California shall maintain no records of the political beliefs or partisan affiliation of voters.

    (3) No person shall be denied the right to be a candidate for any office on the basis of their political beliefs or partisan affiliation. Qualification for the ballots shall be by petition and/or filing fee, and shall be the same for all candidates for an office. The legislature may provide for a political statement made by a candidate to appear on a ballot.

    (4) Persons have a right to organize in political parties, however that does not include the right to restrict any voter from voting in any election, or any person from becoming a candidate. The State of California shall not regulate the internal governance of political parties, and shall provide no financial support for the activities of political parties. However, the State of California may regulate contributions to and expenditures by political parties related to elections.

  3. Basic PR math —

    Party Seats = Total Seats x Party Votes / Total Votes

    — since 1840s — repeat 1840s

    END the DARK AGE.

  4. The Initiative is a Repeal of the language of Proposition 14 that created the Top Two as incorporated into the Constitution. The language would be removed from the Constitution allowing the top vote-getter in each of the political parties to appear on the general election ballot.

  5. Thus – IF Prop 14 language is repealed — back to the rotten past —

    plurality extremists (mainly Donkeys in CA) get nominated and later win in the rigged gerrymander districts.

    NO primaries.
    Equal ballot access – via nominating petitions / filing fees.
    PR and Appv.

  6. Top Two is grossly unfair to third parties as it ensures that smaller parties will never be among the top two vote getters and thus are eliminated from the general election. If one major party runs candidates who are among the top two, then only one political party participates in the general election. This is completely undemocratic and needs to end.

  7. How can I help? Schwarzenegger was a fool. The old way was better. Please let me know what I can do to help repeal this top two system. I want a choice between candidates with opposing viewpoints rather than a choice between who is more liberal than the other.

  8. James, go to There you can sign up to be a Stop Top2 County Coordinator. You can download the duties of a Coordinator or view them online. You can help by downloading and circulating the Declaration of Circulator form. Collect a copy of the Declaration form and send them to me at the Foundation to Stop Top 2, P.O. Box 2413, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91729 If signers intend to circulate petitions in late October or early November, they must have the original with them in case they’re challenged. You can also perform administrative functions. Let me know, Thanks! – Tom

  9. DEMO REP – There is a singular purpose, e.g., to repeal a bad law. Other purposes should be taken up. If you want to ensure minority access and inclusion, you need to prepare a Proposition/Initiative. – Tom

  10. I talked to Mr. Palzer tonight, and also asked his permission to discuss the content of our conversation.

    In my opinion, it would take $2 million to hire petitioners to put this measure on the California ballot. (Alternatively, the Democrats, who control the California legislature, can put a measure on the ballot.) After that, in my opinion, it would take several million more dollars to win.

    Mr. Palzer has raised much less than this so far. I think he needs at least one angel right away to make progress, and a lot more to win.

    I sure would like to see Top 2 removed from California politics before other states copy it. However I think this project at this time does not have the backers to do so in 2018.

  11. The Stop Top 2 Repeal Plan and Implementation Schedule Stages: Research______Prepare Preliminary Plan and Implementation Schedule______Technical (build website website)______Raise Awareness_____ Networking______Small Donor Solicitation_______Establish Non-Partisan Participation (bring all Political Parties and Organizations together)______Adjust Plan and Implementation Schedule______Establish Distribution and Collection Networks (use all existing networks and form 58-county coordinator network)______Fill Positions in Organizational and Functional Charts (administrative staffing structure) _______Initiative Filing_______Adjust Plan and Implementation Schedule______Large Donor Solicitation_______Petition Circulation, Collection and Filing with (each) County’s Election Officials______ [Maintain FPPC Compliance] For details, go to:

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