Top-Two Open Primary Explanation
On June 8, 2010, California voters approved Proposition 14, which created the “Top-Two Open Primary Act”. Prior to the “Top-Two Open Primary Act”, candidates running for partisan office appeared only on their own party ballot. The top vote-getter from each qualified political party and any candidates who qualified using the independent nomination process would then move on to the General Election.
About the Top-Two Open Primary System
Now, under the “Top-Two Open Primary Act”, all candidates running, regardless of their party preference, will appear on a single combined ballot, and voters can vote for any candidate from any political party. The “Top-Two Open Primary Act” would not affect the election of President (except parties that allow cross-over voters) and County Central Committees, which are still party specific contests.
How this Affects ElectionsThe “Top-Two Open Primary Act” requires that only the two candidates for voter-nominated offices who receive the highest and second-highest number of votes cast at the primary shall appear on the ballot as candidates at the ensuing General Election. (EC8141.5)
The “Top-Two Primary Act” changes the way elections are conducted for all statewide offices including:
- Attorney General Board of Equalization
- Insurance Commissioner
- Lieutenant Governor
- Secretary of State
- State Assembly
- State Senator
- State Treasurer
- U.S. Representatives
- U.S. Senator
The “Top-Two Primary Act” would not affect the election of President (except parties that allow cross-over voters) and Central Committees, which are party-nominated. Non-partisan offices such as Judges, schools, special districts, municipalities and the Superintendent of Public Instruction would remain open to all eligible voters.