Initiative Measure to Repeal California’s Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act

Los Angeles –Prior to its enactment on June 2011, the Legislature of California took it on its own to place Proposition 14, the Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act, on the ballot. The Act allows only the top two candidates with the most votes to move on to the General election. The key advantage, according its supporters, was the claim that ‘more moderate’ candidates would be elected to office.

The Initiative is simple. The text of Proposition 14 that created the Top Two would be removed from the Constitution. It’s a REPEAL, not a REPLACEMENT, so there are no pages of legislation to labor through.

There are two ways to place an initiative on the ballot: by the Legislature or by the people. Opponents of Prop 14 at the time of its consideration and today believe that the Legislature initiated Prop 14 to facilitate its own interests, that is, to retain and elect ‘more liberal’ candidates to the offices of State Assembly, State Senate, House of Representatives, and U.S. Senate.  No other offices are subject to the Top Two Act.

Because the Act changed the way in which the election process works, it, basically, denies choice in the selection of candidates by voters from Parties not in the Top Two, limiting voter choice of candidates in the General election by no more than two Parties. By way of example, in the 2016 election, the top two vote-getters in the U.S. Senate race were members of the same Party – hardly representative government.

Today, there is empirical data based on the election results of 2012, 2014, and 2016 that patently refutes claims made by the supporters of the Top Two Act. In each of these elections, the vast majority of candidates retained in office and new candidates elected to office were ‘more liberal.’ This is likely to continue indefinitely unless the Top Two Act is repealed. Supporters of the repeal of the Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act desire to replace the Act with the law in effect prior to adoption of Proposition 14 where all Parties are represented by each Parties top votegetter in the General election.

The minimum number of signatures on petitions to support the repeal is 585,407; estimated cost: $4M to $6M, depending on resistance to the repeal by the same individuals, consultants, and their financial backers in 2010-2011.

To volunteer to circulate petitions and make a contribution(s) to place the repeal of the Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act on the 2018 ballot, go online to:

CONTRIBUTIONS ARE NEEDED NOW TO CONTINUE THE WORK AHEAD. CONTINUOUS MONTHLY CONTRIBUTIONS ARE ENCOURAGED. Registration, booth costs, printing, postage, air-fair, and mileage are some of the many costs we must address now to meet event deadlines. Please be as generous as you can. No amount is too small. Thank you!

Tom Palzer

State Coordinator

Foundation to Stop Top 2


  1. Under the old system, independents were unconstitutionally disenfranchised in primary elections. Palzer’s claims about the “harm” done by TopTwo are patently false and easily disproven. In a state with a heavy Democratic Party advantage, a moderate, thinking, rational Republican can select between the more moderate of two runoff candidates, giving one a genuine chance to win. This moderate “Business Democrat” is precisely the sort of candidate that too often does not survive a closed, partisan primary process.

    Top Two’s flaws are easily remedied by moving to Irish- or Australian-style ranked preference voting, in which each voter has a say regarding EVERY candidate. This system can easily eliminate the need and cost of a general election by providing a single election, after which the computer progressively eliminates the candidate with the fewest top preference votes and re-allocates these votes to each respective voter’s second choice, etc. It is fair and efficient, and above all, it enfranchises all voters, recognizing the citizenship, NOT membership in a particular political party, is the Constitutional requirement for voter eligibility. As long as primary elections are paid for by us taxpayers, to political parties do not have the right to own and control them.