Overturn Top Two Elections in California

The Green Party believes democracy is enhanced by giving voters a real opportunity to vote for and elect representatives who reflect their views.

Top Two reduces voter choice and takes us further from that goal by eliminating party primaries while making primary elections more expensive, allowing only two candidates on the General Election ballot, and eliminating write-in voting.

To promote fuller and fairer representation, the Green Party supports eliminating Top Two and replacing it with multi-seat districts with proportional representation.

News coverage, commentaries, analyses & debates about Top Two's negative aspects
• What isn’t on California's ballot today: real choice.
By Michael Feinstein, Special to The Los Angeles Times. November 8, 2016.     
• Presidential Race Shows Fallacy Of California’s Top Two Primary SystemBy Michael Feinstein. Fox and Hounds Daily. November 8, 2016
• Op/Ed: Top-two reform tilts California toward one-party rule. By Larry Gerston, Special to The Los Angeles Times. October 5, 2016.                
• Op/Ed: Top-two primary creates barriers to voter choice. By Michael Feinstein. Special to The Sacramento Bee. June 5, 2016
• Audio: Is California's Top-Two Primary System Blocking Third-Party Candidates? KQED Forum. Hosted by John Myers, with Michael Feinstein, Green Party of California; Eric McGhee, policy fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, Kim Alexander, president and founder of the California Voter Foundation, and Chad Peace, legal strategist for the Independent Voter Project (IVP). October 16, 2014.
The Primaries Project: Blanket Primaries Have Yet to Deliver. By Alexander R. Podkul and Elaine Kamarck, Brookings Institution. October 10, 2014.
Come November, what's a fringe voter to do in this top-two system? By Scott Martelle, Los Angeles Times, September 27, 2014
• Oregon Citizens Sniff Out the Top Two Primary. By Joe Mathews. Fox & Hounds. September 15, 2014
• Chuck Schumer wants the U.S. to adopt a top-two primary system. But is it working?. By Jaime Fuller, Washington Post, July 22, 2014
Fix the Top Two Primary: Admirable Goals Don’t Justify Indefensible Outcomes. Anthony Ramicone, Rob Richie, Drew Spencer, FairVote. June 11, 2014
California’s Top-Two Primary Eliminates Third-Party Rivals. By Ellen Brown. June 8, 2014
'Top-two' primary elections spell end for many minor parties. By John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle. May 27, 2014
Viewpoints: More mischief in ‘top-two’ primary system. By Steve Maviglio. Special to the Sacramento Bee. Friday, May. 23, 2014
Viewpoints: Top-two primary system is eliminating diverse political expression. By Michael Feinstein, Special to The Sacramento Bee, May. 6, 2014
Top-two primary might be bad for small-party candidates. By Seema Mehta and Jean Merl. Los Angeles Times, April 14, 2014
In statewide debut, top-two primary blocks third parties from June ballot. By John Hrabe, CalNewsroom. February 14, 2014
California Turnout in Special Elections Has Declined by One-Third Since Top-Two Rules Came into Force. By Richard Winger, Ballot Access News. December 21, 2013
Top Two Elections and their Effects on the Smaller Parties. A joint statement from the Green Party, Libertarian Party and Peace and Freedom Party. May 23, 2013
The Top-Two Verdict: Little Gains, Plenty of Costs. The top-two system produced few little gains -- not nearly enough to make up for its costs. By Joe Mathews, PropZero. Novmeber 21, 2012
California electoral reform fails its first test. By Steven Hill. Sacramento Bee. November 16, 2012
Hea to Head: Should California keep 'top-two' primary? By Ben Boychuk and Pia Lopez. Sacramento Bee. October 24, 2012.
How Prop 14 weakened democracy. Elections are supposed to be about choice. But with minor party candidates marginalized and only two spots in a general election, voters have far less to choose from. By Keith Smith, opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times. October 24, 2012.
Welcome to the Top-Two Bloodbath. By Mark Paul, The California Fix Blog. October 17, 2012
Viewpoints: Top-two primary hurt competition in the Golden State. By Steven Hill. Special to The Sacramento Bee. August 4, 2012
Attack of the goo-goos. Good-government types promised their reforms would fix things. They were wrong. By Joe Mathews, special to the Los Angeles Times. June 10, 2012.
• California primary results: GOP catches a ‘top-two’ break
. By Editorial Staff, Red Alert Politics. June 6, 2012.
Louisiana Experience Shows Top-Two Systems Make it Easier for Incumbents to be Re-Elected Than in a Normal Partisan Nomination System. Richard Winger, Ballot Access News. May 20, 2012.
Blowback: The Prop. 14 bait-and-switch. By Michael Feinstein. Special to the Los Angeles Times. June 5, 2010:
KPPC Radio Debate: Proposition 14 - creates a top-two primary election. Featuring California Green Michael Feinstein. May 29, 2010:
Opinion: Prop 14 is Bad for Smaller Parties, Bad for Democracy Overall. By Michael Feinstein. Special to Fox and Hounds Daily. May 27, 2010:
Video: Green Party Opposes Prop 14. Television ad by the Green Party of California. May 20, 2010
Opinion: Prop. 14 would weaken democracy, voter choice. By Michael Feinstein. Special to the San Jose Mercury News. May 12, 2010.
Proposition 14: No, No, No. Elections: Restricts November choices & alters primary election. Green Voter Guide, Green Party of Alameda County. May 8, 2010.
Editorial: Proposition Will Make Our Broken Two-Party Political System Even Worse. By Ann Menasche, Green Party Candidate for Secretary of State. East County Magazine. April 15, 2010.
Prop 14 takes away voters’choices at ballot, gives more power to big corporations. By Ann Menasche, Green Party Candidate for Secretary of State. Green Focus, newspaper of the Green Party of California. April 15, 2010.
Opinion: Thirteen Reasons To Vote No on Prop 14/Top Two Why Prop 14 would be bad for democracy and government in California. By Mike Feinstein. Green Focus, newspaper of the Green Party of California. April 15, 2010.
Video: Top Two Primary/Proposition 14 Debate: Feinstein vs. Gesicki. Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee Debate. April 4, 2010.

Legal case against the Top Two

Green Party of California files amicus brief in Rubin v. Bowen against Top Two primary. August 7, 2014
Rubin v. Bowen - a lawsuit to end Top Two elections in California. Filed November 22, 2011
Charles Munger Jr.'s fee claim may chill public interest suits. The multimillionaire seeks $243,000 for legal fees he incurred when an activist sued to overturn one of Munger's previous initiatives. By Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times. October 31, 2012
Video: Legal case against Top Two Primaries, Proposition 14 and SB 6 - Richard Winger and Gautam Dutta (28:56) May 1st, 2011 - A summary of the legal arguments against the Top Two primary (Proposition 14 in California, Initiative 872 in Washington State), as well as Proposition 14's implementing statute in California, Senate Bill 6. Presentation includes a status update of the legal cases against both. Featuring Richard Winger of Ballot Access News and Gautum Dutta, attorney against SB6. Filmed at the General Assemby of the Green Party of California. May 1st, 2011. Berkeley, California.
Senate Bill 6 / Proposition 14 Lawsuit: Media Releases | Court Documents | News Coverage | Videos

No on Prop 14 Materials and References (archival from 2010)

Final Letter Writing Project

Please help by sending a letter to the editor! This announcement provides you with all the tools you need to compose a lettter and find a local paper in just a few minutes. [TXT 5 KB]

Stop Top Two web site

A very good site from the folks at the Free and Equal Foundation

Prop 14 Flyer

Tri-fold, colored flyer for general distribution. [PDF 1.3 MB]Native file in Adobe Illustator format [AI 2 MB]Update: The flyer content was updated on Mar. 26 to be more generic and less centered on the GPCA.Printing tips: Printing a tri-fold takes some experimenting to get it to line up properly. If printing from Adobe Reader, set Page Scaling to 'none.' Do not shrink or scale. Do 'Auto-Rotate and Center.' Use your printer's 'Bordeless' or 'Print to Edge' printing feature, if it has it. All printers vary so you will have to expirement.

Prop 14 Quarter Sheet Handout

Four-per-page handount; double-sided; black & white. [PDF 263 KB]

Build Your Own Flyer

Generic text to build your localized flyer. In MS Word format. [DOC, 26 KB] GP graphics are at cagreens.org/it/. Scroll down to the "Icons and Logos" heading.

Sample Op-Ed Piece

UPDATED   A Green Party op-ed opposing Prop 14 and promoting IRV. Can be trimmed down for a letter to the editor. In MS Word format. [DOC, 26 KB]

Letters to the Editor

226 word letter. In MS Word format. [DOC, 23 KB]

144 word letter. In text format. [TXT, 0.9 KB]


"No on 14" bookmarks. One-page. Print a stack, turn the paper over and print again, then cut. Paper cutter recommended. In MS Word format. [DOC, 45 KB]

Prop 14 Handout

One-page handout written by GPCA Press Secretary. Media oriented. [PDF 163 kB]

Project Announcement

Original announcement sent to Green Party Locals. Background info, organizing and talking points. [web page]

Fresno LiteratureFresno County contributed a flyer and button art advocating No on 14 and Yes on 15. You need Microsoft Publisher to open the files, which can then be customized for your Local.
MS Publisher is standard equipment the Microsoft Office suite. Probably usable in Open Office suite.


Two-sided, quarter-sheet flyer. [PUB 32 kB]

Button Art

For 2.25" button stock. [PUB 26 kB]