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Parties Continue to Challenge Calif. Nonpartisan Top-Two Primary

by Shawn M. Griffiths, published

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.



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.

Read the full opinion below:

Photo Credit: Brandon Bourdages /

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