To: All GPCA activists
From: Kendra Gonzales and Richard Gomez, CCWG Coordinators, and Jane Rands, ERWG Coordinator
Re: Organizing to Defeat Proposition 14 - the so-called "Top-Two Primary" measure
There will be a ballot measure in the June 8th Primary Election that would effectively abolish minor parties from the General Elections held in November. We are asking you to join the effort to defeat this measure -- Proposition 14, the "Top-Two Primary."
At the March 2010 General Assembly of Delegates, the Green Party of California easily reached consensus on opposing Proposition 14. If adopted, all candidates for partisan office would be required to run in a single, combined Primary Election rather than each party having it's own Primary. Voters may vote for any party's candidate, but only the two highest voted candidates would proceed to the General Election. No longer would each party be represented in the General. In fact, the two candidates in the General could be from the same party.
Obviously, this measure would make it extremely difficulty for minor parties to get their candidates - especially for statewide offices - seen by the voters in the General Election. There was a previous ballot measure proposing this "top-two" concept, which the GPCA also opposed. The present measure made it on to the ballot by being a part of the "deal" to get State Senator Abel Maldonado to vote in support of the February 2009 budget package.
Defeating Proposition 14 is a high priority for the GPCA. Because we, and other small political parties, constitute just a minority of the total voters, we must reach out beyond our GPCA membership to defeat this measure.
Green Values speak of Grassroots Democracy and Decentralization, and in this spirit we ask you to join the effort to defeat this measure by doing the following:
- Talk, blog and email your friends, family, co-workers, and groups in which you participate and ask them to vote No on Prop 14. Explain to them why it's important. Ask them to discuss it with their other friends, family, etc.
- Ask local organizations in which you participate to hold discussions on this issue and, if possible, pass their own resolutions opposing Prop 14. It is especially important to speak before senior citizen's groups because AARP is being listed as a supporting organization on campaign literature that already has been mailed twice.
- Write letters to the editor -- not just to the big newspapers but also to weekly, bi-weekly and monthly papers.
We ask Local County Green Parties to focus on this issue immediately because absentee (mail-in) ballots will begin to be issued on or about May 8, 2010. The GP members in your area need to be contacted and encouraged to engage individually and help make contacts with other organizations. This is an opportunity to connect with other political parties locally to issue joint statements and submit joint op-ed pieces to the local press.
There are a number of measures on the ballot, and more developing campaigns for November or circulating petitions for ballot measures which Greens already support or likely to. It is important to bring the Prop 14 issue to these groups and their activists - even if those campaigns (for various reasons) will not formally oppose Prop 14. It is important to bring "VOTE NO on Prop 14" signs to public rallies supporting Prop 15 (public financing for Secretary of State candidates), or opposing Prop 16 (initiative to hamper local energy commissions), or opposing Prop 17 (initiative that would increase auto insurance rates).
Here are some "talking points":
- Proposition 14 will not result in a less partisan and more moderate legislature, as its proponents claim. This kind of system has been tried before in congressional elections in Louisiana and is currently being used in Washington State. In both cases, the same patterns of Democrats and Republicans were elected. The Washington legislature is still as partisan as it was before its style of "top-two" was approved.
- Proposition 14 will make the General Elections less democratic because voters will have fewer choices on Election Day. Not only will smaller Parties' candidates be eliminated - lessening the choices for independent (decline to state) voters - it is possible that the top two candidates will be from the same political party in many legislative races.
- Proposition 14 will likely increase the money that is spent on Primary Election campaigns and increase fund raising from large private donors and corporations. This will continue the ongoing escalation of candidate spending. Prop 14 would end Prop 15's public financing experiment because a "top two" system would prevent other candidates from receiving the large portion of the public financing provided after the Primaries.
The Campaign and Candidates Working Group and Electoral Reform Working Group will be preparing a model leaflet for GP tabling and networking. If you have questions about the above information, contact Warner Bloomberg at (408) 295-9353 or at wsb3attyca-at-aol.com