Posted by Paul Wells on April 5, 2019
Over the last 30 years, much progress has been made toward the goal of free elections. Independent voters weren’t even recognized as a legitimate political group in 1990 – they are now. In 2004, Washington State became the first state to adopt a Top-Two primary for all State and Federal offices except U.S. President. California followed suit in 2010.
Since then, Top-Two initiatives have failed in every state where measures have appeared on the ballot, and it’s obvious that election reform efforts have stalled completely. Once the Top-Two primary was actually implemented, the flaws became much more apparent. Opponents now use California as an example to defeat Top-Two initiatives in other states.
In Oregon, voters have rejected “Top-Two” ballot measures twice, in 2008 and 2014. Both measures failed by huge margins: 66% to 34%. Voters in Arizona rejected a similar Top-Two initiative in 2012. A completely different state with a completely different electorate, but the result was nearly identical: 67% to 33%.
When an initiative fails by a 2:1 margin, there’s something fatally wrong with the underlying proposal. Top-Two initiatives passed in both Washington State and California, but putting yet another measure on the ballot – in another state – with a new sponsor and marketing plan – won’t work.
We need to figure out why voter opposition is so strong. Are voters opposed to free elections in general – or just the Top-Two primary? In Oregon, Arizona and now Florida, pre-election polls showed better than 60% support for election reform. It’s the Top-Two primary that voters have rejected – not public qualifying primaries.
The Hybrid Primary Election
If your trying to navigate a maze and you reach a “dead end”, giving up isn’t the answer – but you do need to backtrack and attempt a different path. This is probably a good analogy for election reform in Oregon, Arizona, and elsewhere. The hybrid primary is an alternative solution that ultimately gets us to the desired destination – the end of voter and candidate exclusion (free elections).
Rather than abolishing the major party primaries, the hybrid primary uses a two-stage vote tally to combine the existing closed nominating primaries with a public Top-Four qualifying election. The major parties retain the ability to consolidate their base of support behind a single candidate for each office, while Independent and Minor Party voters secure the right to participate in selecting the top candidates for the general election ballot. Along the way, Minor Party and Independent candidates secure the right to equal ballot access. All of this without any additional cost to the taxpayer.
Additional Reading Available
The hybrid primary is a “new thing”. It was first proposed in late 2016, and it has yet to be implemented in any state (as of 2019). For a more detailed overview, read the post: “The “Hybrid Primary” – no voter should ever receive a blank primary ballot.”
If you want to get actively involved and participate in a real election reform campaign, read the post: “Is it true? Can Independents vote in presidential primaries?—Nope!“
For a comprehensive overview of election reform in the United States and the strategy going forward, read the post: “Anti-Propaganda 2040: A twenty-year plan for free presidential elections.” This post is necessarily long, but it’s the only comprehensive analysis/strategy paper of it’s kind publicly available anywhere.
There are also additional posts relating to “Ranked Choice Voting”, “The Electoral College”, and “Electing the President by popular vote”. These posts and more are available by clicking the “posts” button in the menu bar at the top of the page. If we want to overhaul the U.S. Presidential election, these are all pieces of the puzzle that need to be addressed at some point.