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Letters to the Editor: Can any election reform fix California’s abysmal turnout?

Turnout is light at the James Wood Community Center polling place
Turnout is light at the James Wood Community Center polling place in downtown Los Angeles on June 7.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: The analysis criticizing California’s top-two primary system did not mention the amount of money spent by California taxpayers to conduct a primary that failed to entice the vast majority to do what I was taught in elementary school is my civic duty — vote.

This is mind-boggling, as voting has been made so simple to do. Every registered voter in California now receives a mail-in ballot. One doesn’t even need to use a stamp to return the completed ballot.

But let’s talk about taxpayer money spent on all these elections. Last year, in the failed gubernatorial recall election, the state spent $200 million — much-needed funds that could have been better spent on critical issues like water, homelessness, law enforcement, schools, fighting fires and more.

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And the funds spent by taxpayers to conduct the primary just five months before we spend even more to conduct the November midterm election don’t take into account all the money spent by the candidates and their supporters.

It’s time to reconsider the California election process. Seems that the primary process has accomplished little except to be another item funded by the state with little to gain.

Laurie S. Adami, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Of course California’s top-two primary system hasn’t delivered. Providing opportunity for moderate and independent candidates is a worthwhile goal, but the top-two primary is the wrong tool. We still elect candidates whom 40% of the voters love and 40% of the voters hate.

Ranked-choice voting is the right tool. It has worked in Europe and in many U.S. localities like New York City. A candidate who is not the first choice of the most voters can win with a broad base of support and lots of second-choice votes — in other words, lots of likes, but few hates.

Russell Stone, Westchester

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