[EM] How would you fix California's top two primary?

Erik Moeller eloquence at gmail.com
Tue Jan 10 16:46:11 PST 2017

On Tue, Jan 10, 2017 at 3:56 PM, Kristofer Munsterhjelm
<km_elmet at t-online.de> wrote:
> That goes a bit too far in the other direction. Consider a profile like
> this:
> 99: A B
>  1: C
> It seems pretty clear that the candidates to go to the second round
> should be A and B, but Approval-and-removal will pick either {A, C} or
> {B, C}. Of course, the real world probably won't have this kind of
> pathological election situation

In the last decades, the US has degenerated into increasing
uncontested single-party rule at the district level [1]. The
introduction of top two has led to many "pathological" situations
where one of the top two candidates in the primary only has a fraction
of support [2], because these races might not have been contested at
all previously.

Interestingly, these fraction supports translate into double-digit
support in the general election, showing that even in previously
uncontested races, thousands of voters are hungry for an alternative.
(Shocking, I know.) Never mind the fact that without PR, their vote is
likely to go to waste.

In that context, I'm not sure the change would really be disruptive.
Probably you'd see fewer Dem-Dem races and more Dem-Libertarian or
Dem-Green races. So I do like this suggestion overall, and it strikes
me as a lot more straightforward than the "top four" approach Fairvote


(The "Colorado innovation" they refer to did not even make it onto the
ballot. [3])

Thanks for responses so far. I'll wait for more, and will reach out to
some CA groups with a summary next week.



[1] https://ballotpedia.org/Competitiveness_in_State_Legislative_Elections:_1972-2014#Uncontested_elections
[2] Ctrl+F for "write-in" in
[3] https://ballotpedia.org/Colorado_Two-Stage_Election_System_Initiative_(2014)

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