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What Do the Changes Mean?

by Independent Voter Project, published

It's no secret that politics at both the state and federal level have become increasingly polarized. Candidates who have been funded by the parties find it increasingly difficult to make decisions independent of their party's position.The changes from the old “closed” primary process to the new “open” primary process were intended to have the following outcomes:

  • -Opening the process to and empowering 3.8 million Californians without a party affiliation who were previously denied the opportunity to vote for all the candidates.

  • -Allowing all eligible Californians to be candidates without party endorsement and under equitable rules.

  • -Allowing minor parties (e.g. Green, Independent, Peace and Freedom, etc.) to use the primary to have a realistic chance to gain an office instead of just having their names on the general election ballot and occasionally playing spoiler to the major parties without any real chance to win an election.

  • -Independent, non-affiliated voters will have a chance to more fully participate in the electoral process – their voices will finally be heard.

  • -Candidates and incumbents will be able to more freely take independent positions that are good for public policy.

  • -Anyone who wants to run for the offices available can become a candidate without being endorsed by a party

  • -The Top Two Open Primary stated goal is to produce more competitive general elections—where most people vote.

  • -All politicians are now responsible to their whole district instead of majority party members in district

  • -Open primaries gives everyone in a district an opportunity to elect their representative

  • -The Top Two Open Primary eliminates steep barriers that currently make it difficult for independents to qualify for the ballot. While third party candidates could get on the ballot in the old system, it was virtually impossible for a third party candidate to get a head-to-head match up, even in districts where the voter makeup could make them competitive.

  • -The Top Two Open Primary attempts to level the playing field for third party candidates and for independent candidates by making the rules identical for everyone.

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