Against Top Two

When elections first began in the United States of America voters did not use government printed ballots. In fact no one in the world used a government printed ballot before 1856. This idea spread slowly to the America’s where the idea was adopted first in 1888. Richard Winger writes, “Originally, there were no ballot access restrictions whatsoever in the U.S. … no petitions, no filing fees, no loyalty oaths, no declarations of candidacy. The government had no control over who could run for office, or whom voters could vote for. This is because, before the 1890’s, the government didn’t print the ballots! Instead, parties printed them and distributed them, and any voter was free to make his own ballot or to alter a party- printed ballot.
Even after the state took over the job of printing the ballots, it was easy to get on the ballot in virtually every state.” And, “In the 1896 general election, every single congressional district in the nation had at least two candidates on the ballot. The average district had 3.1 candidates on the ballot.”

Since that time, the Republicans and Democrats have been crafting rules to favor themselves and keep off “minor” competitors. They’ve been so “successful” in some States that it’s virtually impossible for an independent or “minor party” candidate to make the ballot. James Bennett in the book “Not Invited To The Party” asks semi-rhetorically if the Republicans and Democrats would be able to meet the ballot access hurdles laid out for the “minor party” and independent candidates.

In the dissenting opinion of Lippit v Cipollene (1972) Justice William O. Douglas writes, “The right to run for public office seems a fundamental one.” Yet at every turn, the powers that be hinder not only the rights of those seeking office, but the right of the voters to choose whom he wishes for that office.

In attempt to decrease voter choice, while claiming to increase it, Californians are being offered Proposition 14 which asks, “Changes the primary election process for congressional, statewide, and legislative races. Allows all voters to choose any candidate regardless of the candidate’s or voter’s political party preference. Ensures that the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes will appear on the general election ballot regardless of party preference. Fiscal Impact: No significant net change in state and local government costs to administer elections.”

Christina Tobin of states, “What the ballot language fails to mention is that in the election that counts, the general election, we wont be able to choose “any candidate”. We’ll have only two choices — and if you want to write in a name, forget it. Write-in votes will be banned. An odd way to “increase the right to participate” !
In reality, we’re being sold the illusion of participation. A blanket primary like Top Two requires more money to win, making the influence of money even greater. Then, the candidates with the most special interest money will be our ONLY choices in November.” Unlike Prop 62 which Californians voted down in 2004, Prop 14 would curtail “the ability of voters to cast a write-in vote for anyone they wish in the general election,” states Richard Winger, “If this passes, California would be one of only 7 states in which no voter could cast a write-in vote for Congress or state office in a November election, and have that write-in counted.” And Proposition 62 had a provision in it to make it easier for smaller parties to remain ballot qualified , “It it (Prop 14) becomes law, the only way a party will be able to remain on the ballot will be to have registration above 1% of the last gubernatorial vote.”

This is just another attempt by the Republicans and Democrats to maintain power. Writing in dissent of Timmons v. Twin Cities Area New Party (1997) Justice Stevens concluded, “it demeans the strength of the two-party system to assume that the major parties need to rely on laws that discriminate against independent voters and minor parties in order to preserve their positions of power.”
Peg Luksik, 1994 Constitution Party candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, says, “This is supposed to be a participatory democracy. But they don’t want you to participate.”

We, the independents and members of “minor parties” need to join together to stop these attempts to limit voter choice. We need to Stop Top Two.

In Liberty,
Darryl W. Perry
2016 candidate for President of the United States of America
At-Large Representative Boston Tea Party National Committee
Managing Editor Free Patriot Press