Propositions 60 and 62

    Supporters of Proposition 62 are misguided in their belief that an open primary for state and federal candidates will moderate the partisan rhetoric that permeates the American political process. The measure oversimplifies the role of parties in elections and does not deal with the fundamental structural aspects of American politics that are the reason for our two-party system.

    Admittedly, the proposal weakens the power of party leaders and allows all voters, regardless of party, to vote for any candidate in a primary election. Under the proposed plan, only the top two vote-getters would move on to the general election. But though this may allow moderate, non-partisan candidates to win office, it may also help extremists on the fringes of the political spectrum.

    Voters can easily imagine multiple centrist Republican and Democratic candidates, each of whom gathers a sizable chunk of the electorate, losing to a well-coordinated left- or right-wing hard-liner who receives overwhelming support from extreme voters. This is exactly what happened in France, which uses a similar system, when moderate conservative Jacques Chirac lost to an ultra-right opponent in the last general presidential election.

    If voters are truly interested in stripping government control away from Republican and Democratic partisans, they must fundamentally restructure our electoral systems. Two parties currently dominate not because of partisan primaries but because of a electoral system that requires candidates to receive only a simple plurality of votes — instead of a majority — and elects only one candidate from each district. Voters must realize that any voting system comes with advantages and disadvantages, and that they should not vote for change simply for the sake of change.

    Though Proposition 62 follows the wrong path toward a virtuous goal, Proposition 60 is simply the response of current partisans wishing to continue to hold great clout over the election process. The measure would essentially change the state’s constitution to guarantee a Democratic-Republican hegemony. Voters who are fed up with partisan politics and a two-party system that leaves little electoral choice simply cannot support this measure.

    Vote “no” on Propositions 60 and 62.

    Originally attached to Proposition 60 in a scheme by Democrats and Republicans to increase support for the initiative over Proposition 62, and later separated into its own proposition by a court, Proposition 60A provides for all money coming from the sale of surplus state property to go toward paying off existing bonds. However, it does not require the state to sell surplus property. And even when the state does sell land, the state budget should be managed by our elected officials and not micromanaged by voters. Vote “no” on Proposition 60A.

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