Tuesday, April 3, 2018

CA 2018 Repeal Top-Two Primary Initiative

The California Repeal Top-Two Primary Initiative (#17-0020) may appear on the Ballot as an Initiated Constitutional Amendment on November 6th, 2018.

The Measure would Repeal California's Top-Two Primary system, which Voters passed as Proposition 14 in 2010.

The Official Ballot Title is: Repeals Current Primary Election System in State and Congressional Elections.

The Summary provided for inclusion on Signature Petition Sheets is as follows:

Repeals the current primary elections system which provides for all candidates for an office to appear on a single primary ballot and for the two candidates with the most votes in the primary to advance to the general election, irrespective of party. Creates a primary election system based on political party for congressional, state legislative, and most statewide offices. Gives political parties that participate in the primary election for a partisan office the right to participate in the general election for that office.

The Fiscal Impact Statement for a California Ballot Initiative authorized for circulation is prepared by the State's Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance. The Fiscal Impact Statement is as follows: No Significant Net Change in State and Local Government Costs to Administer Elections.

Constitutional Changes : The Measure would Amend Section 5 of Article II of the California Constitution.

Sponsor: Thomas Palzer, a 2016 Republican Candidate for U.S. Senate in California, proposed the Ballot Initiative. Palzer said the 2016 U.S. Senate Election, in which Two Democrats advanced to the General Election, "really enlightened me in terms of the top-two... the odds were slim of any Republican getting on the ticket." He continued, "I’m not doing this to grease the slicks for myself...regardless of party, it’s a bad law and it needs to be repealed. It affects every voter. They’re being cheated out of the ability to look at top candidates from every party and then make their decision."

Path to the Ballot: In California, the number of Signatures needed to Qualify a Measure for the Ballot is based on the Total Number of Votes cast for the Office of Governor. For an Initiated Constitutional Amendment, Petitioners must collect Signatures equal to 8% of the most recent Gubernatorial Vote. To get a Measure on the 2018 Ballot, the Number of Signatures required is 585,407.

In California, Initiatives can be Circulated for 180 days. Signatures need to be Certified at least 131 days before the 2018 General Election, which will be around June 28th, 2018. As the Signature Verification process can take several weeks, the California Secretary of State Issues suggested Deadlines for several Months before the Certification Deadline.

The Timeline for the Initiative is as follows: Thomas Palzer submitted a Letter requesting a Title and Summary on August 21th, 2017.
A Title and Summary were issued by the California Attorney General's Office on October 24th, 2017. Proponents of the Initiative need to submit 585,407 valid signatures by April 23th, 2018, in order for it to make the 2018 Ballot.

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