You're Viewing the Archives
Return to IVN's Frontpage

Independent Voter Project Publishes Guides to New Open Primary

by Independent Voter Project, published


January 31, 2012

Independent Voter Project Publishes Guides to New Open Primary Candidate nomination period begins February 13 ends March 9, 2012

  • Rules for candidates and voters have changed
  • 3.8 million independent voters now empowered to have a choice
  • All candidates, including independents, now have the same ballot access

San Diego, CA.  The Independent Voter Project (IVP) announced the release of two new guides to help both voters and candidates understand the rules implemented by the Top Two Open Primary Act (Open Primary Act) approved by voters in the June 2010 election. With the beginning of the candidate nomination period only days away on February 13, it is crucial for voters and those interested in seeking elected office to fully understand and engage in the new process.

Under the new rules, in 2012, candidates can more easily run for U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, California Senate or California Assembly:

  • File:  February 13 to March 9, 2012  (collect less than 100 signatures and pay a filing fee)
  • All candidates appear on the same June 5, 2012, primary ballot
  • The top two vote getters regardless of party preference face a runoff in November

This year marks the first time the new open primary rules will replace the partisan format that has been the norm in California.  “Most voters and many potential candidates are not aware of how the rules have changed to make running for Congressional and state offices easier than ever before,” said Steve Peace, co-chair of IVP.

The “Voter Guide to the New Improved Open Primary Act” and the “Candidate Guide to the New Improved Open Primary Act” give voters and candidates information about the options available to them between now and the primary election on June 5.  The guides are available at

Candidate Filing Period Opens/IVP Publishes Open Primary Guides for Voters and Candidates

“In the past, independent voters had to select a party-based ballot in order to participate during the primary. The old electoral process heavily favored partisan candidates, often predetermining the victor in the general election,” Peace said.  “The new rules have leveled the playing field by creating a more open and competitive process, giving all voters a voice in selecting the two candidates to compete in November regardless of party preference.”

Several important new rules affect candidates who want to run for office this year. The “Candidate Guide to the New Improved Open Primary Act” contains a simple chart detailing the key requirements for a candidate to become eligible for the ballot.

Key changes for candidates include:

  • Independent candidates no longer need to collect thousands of signatures in order to obtain nomination papers.
  • Candidates now have the choice of declaring their party preference or being listed as having “no party preference.”
  • All candidates must file nomination papers during the period that begins on February 13 and ends on March 9.

Key changes for voters include:

  • All candidates for a given state or congressional office will be listed on a single primary ballot.
  • All voters, including Independent voters, can now vote for any of the candidates in the primary. In the past, options were limited to party-based ballots.
  • 3.8 million voters registered as Independents now have an equal say in California’s primary elections.

For more information about how to become a candidate and additional rules and changes for voters, go to the Independent Voter Network,, an online news platform produced by IVP.


The Independent Voter Network (IVN) is a news platform for communication between independent-minded voters, public officials, civic leaders, and journalists.  The Independent Voter Project is dedicated to restoring the importance of open dialogue, engagement, and constructive compromise in our political system, unfiltered by the partisanship that drives the larger public dialogue.  IVN is a program of the Independent Voter Project.

A Voter Guide to Open Primaries

A Candidate Guide to Open Primaries


Independent Voter Project 101 West Broadway, Suite 1460

About the Author