Stop Top Two—The Corporate Control of Elections

May 04, 2012
Contact: Christina Tobin (312) 320-4101

Voters in some states could have only one party to choose from at the ballot box come general Election Day if “Top Two” systems are not stopped.

Top Two, is a plan that, when adopted by an election district, allows only the top two vote getters in a general primary to advance and effectively would eliminate third party candidates from the general election, delivering a tremendous blow to this country’s election process.

Stop Top Two,” founded by “Free and Equal” in 2010 to fight California’s Proposition 14 from implementing a Top Two system in the state, has been expanded and now aims to stop the adoption of Top Two elections nationally. California’s Proposition 14 passed with the help of corporate money, but only by a slim margin. While Free and Equal’s work to bring down Proposition 14 garnered a significant amount of opposition to the Top Two system in California, it did not stop the idea from popping up in other states including Arizona and Washington.

Recently, the Libertarian and Democratic Parties of Washington State challenged its Top Two system. Free and Equal, which works to foster a fair election process in which independents outside the two-party system can participate in the electoral process, plans to file an amicus brief in that case and encourages the court to reaffirm the Constitutionally protected right of any citizen to stand for office.

stop top two

Top Two systems, although they can technically differ based on language, are notorious for implicitly shutting out third parties by implementing hefty ballot registration requirements, fostering a hostile mainstream media and promoting massive spending early on in the primary race. These tactics undeniably put third parties at a disadvantage due to the ethical nature of their fundraising which does not include massive corporate bankrolling such as is the tactic of the major parties.

Despite the advantages the ruling parties have already built for themselves, they push to implement Top Two election systems in states nationwide to ensure that a pesky third party can never disturb their one party, two faction rule ever again. Imagine – being given the option of only two pre-screened candidates on Election Day – and worse, by law! Can you say, Oligopoly?

Advocates of Top Two argue that any candidate could run in the first round of voting – the general primary – only after which would the field be reduced to the top two candidates. Nonetheless, they fail to acknowledge the fact that relegating third party candidates to the first round will deprive voters of the important role third parties have played in general election cycles by injecting fresh ideas into debates and ultimately playing a part in deciding elections.

“The only difference between the Republican and Democratic Parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the ground when corporations knock on their door,” Ralph Nader said.

Free and Equal Elections and third parties ask you, the voters, to stand for integrity and to stand against Top Two systems nationwide, or else we could soon see ourselves with a closed system by which we vote for “Republicrat Inc.”


Free and Equal
407 S. Dearborn St.
Suite 1170
Chicago, IL 60605