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Green, Libertarian, Peace & Freedom Parties Challenge Prop 14

Aired 11/23/11 on KPBS News.

Three political parties have filed a legal challenge to California's Proposition 14, which created the state's new "top-two" primary system. They hope to overturn the new system in time for next year's elections.

The lawsuit is on behalf of members of the Green, Libertarian and Peace and Freedom parties. They believe they'd be disenfranchised by what's often called an "open primary system." That's where voters can pick any candidate they want, and the top two finishers - no matter what their political parties - advance to the general election. Oakland Attorney Michael Siegel filed the suit.

"The general election is the moment of peak political participation," said Siegel. "It's the moment when the most people in the state are focused on the political process. And under the Top-Two initiative, the small political parties have virtually no chance to enter into the general election. And we think this is unconstitutional."

The Secretary of State's office has thirty days to respond to the suit. After that, Siegel said he'll ask for an immediate injunction to prevent the top-two system from being used in the 2012 elections.

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