CALIFORNIA — Political parties continue to challenge California’s nonpartisan, top-two primary, with a claim that the top-two system unconstitutionally prevents third parties from having access to the general election. The latest challenge is on appeal to California’s Supreme Court.
Calif. Court: Top-Two Primary Protects Individual Voters AND Third-Party Rights
The defense is very simple and has been upheld in an unanimous decision by the California Court of Appeal:
“There is easy access to the primary ballot and all candidates and parties are subject to the same rules.” – Hon. Lawrence John Appel, California Court of Appeal
In other words, California’s system treats all voters, candidates, and parties the same, unlike primary elections in almost every other state. So if a third party does not qualify for the general election, it’s not because of the law, but because the party didn’t get enough support; so the burden the state has placed on the parties is minimal at most.