• Prop 14 damages democracy and disenfranchises voters by limiting choices. If Prop 14 passes, voters would only see Democrats and Republicans on the ballot in the general election, for some offices just two Democrats or two Republicans. Many voters would have no one to vote for in November.
  • Prop 14 favors incumbents. In Louisiana and Washington, the two states that have used a "top two" primary like Prop 14 would bring to California, almost no incumbents have ever lost. It makes sense that this would happen, since it magnifies the advantages of money and name recognition by requiring candidates to win two elections before all voters in order to be elected.
  • Prop 14 eliminates independent, third party and write-in candidates from general elections. If Prop 14 passes, the only situation in which candidates outside the political establishment would appear on the general election ballot is when only one insider candidate even bothers to run in the primary. However, Prop 14 also makes it more difficult for third party candidates even to run in primary elections, so even that will happen less often. Though write-in blanks would still appear on general election ballots, Prop 14 would ban counting of write-in votes in general elections.
  • Prop 14 is Schwarzenegger's scheme to rig elections for big business. The main backer of Prop 14 is Governor Schwarzenegger, who with Abel Maldonado forced the legislature to put it on the ballot as part of the February 2009 budget deal. They promote it because they think it will help elect "moderate" politicians by which they mean pro-business Republicans and Democrats who won't let social issues, workers' rights or anti-tax fanaticism get in the way of using the power of government to make corporations more profitable.
  • Prop 14 allows candidates to hide their party affiliations. Currently, candidates' party affiliations are shown on the ballot, and candidates can't change party at the last minute. Many voters rely on this to help decide who to vote for. Prop 14 would allow candidates who are actually in a party to leave their affiliation off the ballot and to nominally change party just before filing in order to have a more electable affiliation shown on the ballot.
  • Prop 14 won’t do what its backers claims it would do. They claim that it will open up the candidate selection process to ordinary citizens, resulting in less partisan, more moderate elected officials who will work together better. However, the legislatures in Louisiana and Washington, and the Congressional delegations from those states, haven't been any less partisan than California's. Further, it would actually reduce the role of voters in determining who would make it to the general election ballot. This is because having many candidates in the primary from both major parties could result in two Democrats or two Republicans on the general election ballot even for potentially competitive seats, so Democratic and Republican party leaders' closed door meetings to choose candidates would become even more important than they are already.
  • Prop 14 wouldn't establish an open primary even though proponents say it would. The correct name for this proposal is "non-partisan blanket primary" or just “top two”. In open primaries, candidates from all parties advance to the general election. But "open" sounds good and, in fact, it covers up the reduction in voter choice inherent in this proposal.
  • Prop 14 would decrease voter turnout. First, it moves much of the political action from November to June, when fewer people vote. Second, with fewer choices on the general election ballot, it stands to reason that fewer voters will bother to vote in November.

Vote NO on Proposition 14

Last revised April 28, 2010
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