This op-ed was originally published in the Los Angeles Daily Journal.
In June of 2010, voters passed Proposition 14, the open primary, top-two election law. Since that time a number of lawsuits have been filed seeking to overturn it. (Full disclosure, I have been consulted by at least one group opposing Proposition 14). Just a few weeks ago, yet another challenge was lodged against the new law.
Proposition 14 provides that any voter can vote for any candidate in the primary election and that only the top-two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation proceed to the general election. In some districts this could mean that the general election will be a battle between two Republicans or two Democrats. Candidates will list their party preference, or lack of party preference, on the ballot.
Proposition 14 was put on the June 2010 ballot as part of a compromise to pass the 2010 state budget. Then-state Sen. Abel Maldanado (R) agreed to vote for the budget in exchange for placing his pet project, an open primary, top-two election law on the next ballot. The primary purpose of the law is to increase the number of moderate legislators. The idea is that the winner of an election under Proposition 14 will have had to appeal to a broad spectrum of the electorate.