CA’s Nonpartisan Primary

The major political parties ended California's old open 'blanket' primary system in 1998 through the court room. They argued that the open primary violated political parties' associational rights.

A reform was necessary to establish a primary where voters, not parties, had the primary nominating power.

The Independent Voter Project authored, and the voters passed that reform, Proposition 14, in 2010.
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In June of 2010, thanks in no small part to the highest primary turnout of independent voters in California history, Proposition 14 passed by about 400,000 votes. In truth, its authors were a generation of Capitol politicians and staffers, Republican and Democratic alike, who sincerely wished for a better future for those that follow.

The Top-Two primary fundamentally changes the traditional approach to elections.

Under a traditional primary system, whether the primary is “open,” “closed,” “semi-closed,” or any other iteration, the PURPOSE of the primary election is for political parties to choose which candidate best represents THEM.

The PURPOSE of a nonpartisan primary is to serve voters. In a nonpartisan primary, the rules are the same for all candidates, voters, and political parties. No more, “well you can vote if you join one of those parties you don’t like.” Or, “I really like that candidate but he/she can’t survive the [insert party] primary.”

With the nonpartisan primary, candidates can appeal to voters across the political spectrum, and win. That’s because all voters have an equal vote.

And that’s why the Independent Voter Project is working with organizations across the country to open our elections to every voter, regardless of party affiliation.

The Independent Voter Project is standing up for voters.

Learn more about the different types of primary elections.

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