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Category Archives: Voting
On June 5, 2012, the state of California held a nonpartisan blanket primary where candidates running for the United States Senate and the United States Congress ran in the same respective primary regardless of party affiliation. Known as the “Top 2” Primary, the top two candidates in the primary advance to a run-off in November’s general election. Traditional open/closed primary elections guarantee a nominee from each political party who holds a party primary. Therefore, if three parties hold primary elections, then each party will have a nominee on the ballot in the general election. In a “Top 2” system, no party is guaranteed a nominee in the second round of voting. You could end up with the top two primary winners from the same political party. In the case of the California, eight November Congressional contests will have two candidates from the same political party (six – Democrat vs. Democrat, two – Republican vs. Republican). In four cases, a major political party is shut out of the general election (three – Democrat vs. Independent, one – Republican vs. Independent). Forty-one races still have the traditional Democrat vs. Republican two-party contest. That also holds true for the United States Senate race, as a Democrat and a Republican will be the only two on the general election ballot. The Green, Libertarian, and Peace and Freedom Parties will not have a candidate in November’s Senate and Congressional elections in California.
What are your opinions on a “Top 2” Primary? Do you favor such an election? Do you favor the traditional open/closed primaries that most states have where each party will have some form of representation on Election Day?
Below are a couple of races that have piqued the interests of voters in California.
In the 33rd Congressional District, Incumbent Congressman Henry Waxman (D) is going up against Bill Bloomfield (I). This district is newly drawn up after the Congressional districts were redrawn after 2010 Census. Waxman is currently the representative of the 30th Congressional District.
Another race worth a look is in the 30th Congressional District, where Congressman Howard Berman (D) of the 28th Congressional District is going up against Congressman Brad Sherman (D) of the 27th Congressional District. Both of their seats were redrawn into the newly redistricted 30th. The race has been contentious at times.
Here is one of the earliest political campaign television advertisements. It is from 1952 and it promotes the candidacy of then-General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower’s campaign was the first to effectively use television as a mode of political communication. What techniques do you see here in the ad that would capture the attention of the voting public? What techniques are used in campaign ads today to capture the public’s attention?
Third party Presidential candidates face many obstacles when running for the highest office in the land. Among those obstacles are ballot access restrictions, the public perception that they can’t win, and the lack of organizational and fundraising capabilities that could help them compete with the two major parties. Ballot access restrictions are probably the greatest obstacle. Each state has its own rules regarding who can and cannot get on a ballot for office. Some states require petitions to be filed with a certain minimum of signatures. Other states simply require a filing fee to ensure access. For the most part, the two major parties are required to get a smaller number of signatures than their third party counterparts when gaining access to a ballot. Ballot Access News provides a wealth of information on the difficulties that third party candidates face when running for office.
There is an upside though to third party Presidential candidacies. Ballot access restrictions can be waived for a third party in the next Presidential election if their candidate for President this year receives 5% of the vote. Five percent, according to the Federal Election Commission, is needed for major party recognition. Five percent not only waives the signature requirement, but it also guarantees federal financial assistance to that third party in the next Presidential election. This percentage may seem quite low, but recent history tells us that this threshold is quite difficult for third parties to meet.
Ralph Nader (Independent) 0.56%
Bob Barr (Libertarian) 0.40%
Chuck Baldwin (Constitution) 0.15%
Cynthia McKinney (Green) 0.12%
Nader (Independent) 0.38%
Michael Badnarik (Libertarian) 0.32%
Michael Peroutka (Constitution) 0.12%
David Cobb (Green) 0.10%
Nader (Green) 2.73%
Pat Buchanan (Reform) 0.43%
Harry Browne (Libertarian) 0.36%
Howard Phillips (Constitution) 0.09%
John Hagelin (Natural Law) 0.08%
What are your thoughts on the five percent rule? What information did you find on Ballot Access News that piqued your interest?