Readers React

Top-two primary: Pro and con

To the editor: Your editorial fails to mention how top-two voting under Proposition 14 virtually eliminates alternative parties from the general election ballot. It's almost impossible for a candidate from the Libertarian, Peace and Freedom or Green party to advance to the November election, and thus voters are denied the right to vote for candidates who challenge the status quo. ("California's top-two primary: Don't judge too quickly," Editorial, Feb. 9)

Until 2010, as many as 10% of November voters would select the alternative party candidates. Now, it's very hard to show just how dissatisfied some of us are with politics as usual in Sacramento and Washington. Last November, I had to skip governor and lieutenant governor races since no Libertarian was running.

I want to be able to vote Libertarian again. We need to get rid of top two and allow a full choice of parties and candidates on the November ballot.

Ted Brown, Pasadena

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To the editor: The main effect of open primaries is the creation of a large number of districts where candidates in the general elections are often members of the same political party. Even after redistricting reform, the majority of districts within California are still heavily skewed toward one political party.

However, in the old closed primary system, only the majority party's primary voters would effectively pick the ultimate victor. Under open primaries, the final outcome is determined by all voters.

For example, the race last November for the state Senate's 26th District was decided by 204,000 voters from all parties. Under the old system, roughly 50,000 Democratic primary voters would have determined the ultimate victor.

Isn't it better for 200,000 voters who make up a cross section of the electorate to decide an election than 50,000 party partisans?

Bill Bloomfield, Manhattan Beach

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