The Non-partisan “Open Primary Initiative“, was passed decisively by California voters in the June 2010 primary election. The California open primary created a single ballot primary system whereby all voters can vote for any candidate, regardless of party affiliation. The proposition was authored by The Independent Voter Project, sister organization of the Foundation for Independent Voter Education (FIVE), publisher of www.IVN.us.
- Voters can vote for any candidate, regardless of party affiliation
- Sends the two candidates who are the top vote getters to the November general election, no matter what their party preference
- The general election is between the two candidates, not between candidates representing a party
- Makes the primary a “candidate” election rather than a “party” election
The Top Two Open Primary’s stated goal was to produce more competitive general elections—the elections when most people vote. More than ninety percent of legislative and congressional elections were deemed “non-competitive” under the old system. This meant that non-Republican voters living in “safe” Republican districts were permanently disenfranchised as were non-Democratic voters living in “safe” Democratic districts. The Top Two Open Primary forces candidates to face all voters, including independents, in both the primary and the general elections. In most communities, this means that candidates and elected officials will have to answer to, and appeal to, a broader electorate rather than to the more narrow interests that can dominate low turnout primaries.
These mailers have been sent to households throughout California to inform voters of their new rights and the new election system: