Are Open Primaries Working? (Feb. 23, 2015)
Recently the Los Angeles Times editorialized that although the jury was still out on California’s top-two primary, they were encouraged with the results thus far. My letter to the Times, which was published last Saturday, follows below. I believe that our top-two system of Open Primaries is transforming this state for the better – and providing every voter the opportunity to have their vote count. I hope you agree.
To the editor: The main effect of open primaries is the creation of a large number of districts where candidates in the general elections are often members of the same political party. Even after redistricting reform, the majority of districts within California are still heavily skewed toward one political party.
However, in the old closed primary system, only the majority party’s primary voters would effectively pick the ultimate victor. Under open primaries, the final outcome is determined by all voters.
For example, the race last November for the state Senate’s 26th District was decided by 204,000 voters from all parties. Under the old system, roughly 50,000 Democratic primary voters would have determined the ultimate victor.
Isn’t it better for 200,000 voters who make up a cross section of the electorate to decide an election than 50,000 party partisans?