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Comments made by richardwinger

State Legislature To Consider Doing Away With Special Elections

A better solution for the problem would be for California to pass a law that says if an elected office-holder files to run for another elective office in the middle of the term, then that office-holder is deemed to have resigned on the spot. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Texas law that does that, in 1982, in Clements v Fashing. If that type of law were in effect, office-holders would be far less likely to quit in the middle of their terms, because they would realize that if they didn't win the election for the new office, they would be out of a job.

The gubernatorial appointment idea is a bad idea. How would we feel if the US Constitution said the president could appoint people to the US House of Representatives? That upsets the distinction between the legislative and executive branches.

December 19, 2013 at 8:07 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Democratic Congressional Candidates For 52nd On Job Creation

This story would be better if it didn't refer to California's election system as an "open primary." 21 states have open primaries, but California, Washington and Louisiana have top-two primaries.

If writers continue to use the same term to refer to two different systems, what will be the consequences if there is a future push to provide for a classic open primary in California? The press in Washington state understands the difference between the two systems, and always uses "top-two" to describe the system now used in Washington and California.

May 7, 2012 at 9:26 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Explaining California's Open Primary

This story would be better if it did not refer to the California Prop. 14 system as "open primary". "Open primary" has been defined in political science textbooks since 1907, and in US Supreme Court decisions starting in 1972, as a system in which each party has its own primary ballot and its own nominees, but on primary day any voter is free to choose any party's primary ballot.

By contrast, California no longer has party nominees or party primary ballots (except for President). This story should refer to it strictly as a "top-two" system. If California ever has a ballot measure for a true open primary (which would be far better because it would not limit choices in November to just two), how will KPBS refer to that? It is bad journalism and bad writing to refer to two entirely different things with the same term. Prop. 14 was not on the June 2010 ballot as an "open primary" because a state court ruled it can't be called that.

February 28, 2012 at 12:48 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

California's Democratic Party Faithful Gather In San Diego For Annual Convention

This story would be better if it referred to California's system as a "top-two primary", not "open primary." "Open primary" has been defined in political science textbooks since 1907, and in several US Supreme Court decisions starting in 1972, as a system in which each party has its own nominees and its own primary ballot, but on primary day a voter is free to choose any party's primary ballot. By contrast, in California there are no longer any party nominees or party primary ballots (except for President).

Prop. 14, which put the top-two system in place, was not on the ballot as "open primary". 21 states have open primaries, but only California, Washington and Louisiana have top-two primaries. PBS is supposed to be superior journalism. What will happen if there is an initiative in California for a true open primary? Past misuse of the term "open primary" to refer to a top-two primary will then be massively confusing to listeners.

February 10, 2012 at 8:29 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Roundtable: Mayor's Race, Pension Reform, Open Primaries, 52nd Congressional

California's Prop. 14 was not on the ballot as an "open primary." A court ruled that Prop. 62 (the 2004 version, which was the same idea) could not be labeled "open primary" on the ballot or in the voters handbook. Prop. 14 is a top-two primary, not an open primary.

21 states have open primaries, but only California, Louisiana and Washington state have top-two primaries. "Open primary" has been defined in political science textbooks since 1907, and in US Supreme Court opinions starting in 1972, as a system in which each party has its own primary ballot and its own nominees, but any voter is free to choose any party's primary ballot.

By contrast, under Prop. 14, there are no party nominees or party primary ballots.

January 6, 2012 at 12:48 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

How To Rescue the Golden State from the Junk Heap

The "top-two" initiative that Californians will vote on next year was defeated by the California voters in November 2004. The same idea was also defeated in Oregon in November 2008. However, it passed in Washington state in November 2004 and was used for the first time in Washington state in 2008.

The Washington state experience in 2008 rebuts all the presumptions set forth above. Turnout in the primary went down, compared to the 2004 primary in Washington state. Only one incumbent state legislator, and no members of Congress, were defeated in the 2008 primary in Washington state (out of 123 legislative races). The only real impact it had was that, for the first time since Washington had been a state, all minor party and independent candidates for statewide office and Congress were barred from the November ballot.

By contrast, in California in 2008, under our current system, four Assembly seats (out of 80) switched between the Democrats and Republicans (Democrats gained 3 seats and Republicans gained one seat). It is a myth that California districts prevent any meaningful results in the November election. Too many in the press endlessly recycle the same assumptions without looking at the facts.

July 9, 2009 at 8:53 p.m. ( | suggest removal )