When Californians prepare to cast votes for state legislators and members of Congress in June, they’ll get a ballot unlike anything they’ve seen before.
Republicans will be startled to see Democrats on their ballot. Democrats will be shocked to see GOP candidates. The top two vote-getters will advance to November, regardless of party. So when Californians enter voting booths for November’s general election, they might have a choice between a Republican and a Republican — or a Democrat and a Democrat. And they most likely won’t have a chance to pick a Green, Libertarian or other third-party candidate; those candidates probably won’t have made it onto the November ballot.
Some say the “top two” system will create a new breed of pragmatic, moderate California politicians more concerned about the commonweal than partisan zeal. Others predict it will only make primaries more chaotic — and perhaps more Machiavellian. Either way, expect a lot of head-scratching as California takes its new system for its first full ride this year — and prepare for years of debate about whether it’s working as intended.
“Long term, I think, it’s going to be healthy — it’s going to eliminate these kinds of races that have no real race and instead create a little more competition, although we’ll see that a little more in November than we do in June,” said veteran Democratic campaign strategist Larry Tramutola, of Oakland. “But are we going to all of a sudden get better-quality candidates running? I don’t know. It may take a while for that to happen,” he said.
Full Article: Voters confront ‘top two’ primary – San Jose Mercury News.