Top-Two Open Primary Act
To learn about the Top Two Primary Act, please view the following presentation:
- Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act (PDF -563kb) *
On June 8, 2010, California voters approved Proposition 14, which created the "Top-Two Open Primary Act".
Prior to the "Top-Two Open Primary Act", candidates running for partisan office appeared only on their own party's ballot. The top vote-getter from each qualified political party and any candidates who qualified using the independent nomination process would then move on to the general election.
Now, under the "Top-Two Open Primary Act", all candidates running, regardless of their party preference, will appear on a single combined ballot, and voters can vote for any candidate from any political party. The "Top-Two Open Primary Act" would not affect the election of President or County Central Committees, which are still party specific contests.
The "Top-Two Open Primary Act" requires that only the two candidates for voter-nominated offices who receive the highest and second-highest number of votes cast at the primary shall appear on the ballot as candidates at the ensuing general election.(EC8141.5)
The "Top-Two Primary Act" changes the way elections are conducted for all statewide offices including:
- State Senator
- Lt. Governor
- Insurance Commissioner
- State Assembly
- United States Senator
- Board of Equalization
- State Treasurer
- Secretary of State
- U.S. Representative
- Attorney General
Non-partisan offices such as judges, schools, special districts, municipalities and the Superintendent of Public Instruction would remain open to all eligible voters.
Quick facts about the "Top-Two Primary Act"
- What does this mean for the Voter?
- It changes the way candidates are elected in a primary election.
How does this affect write-in candidates?
You may write in a qualified write-in candidate's name on the ballot in a Primary Election contest.
In the General Election, you may only write-in a qualified candidates name in a Party-Nominated contest. Write-in votes are not allowed in a voter-nominated general election.
3 Types of Candidate Contests
|Contests||Offices||Who Can Vote||Party Appearance on Ballot||Who Advances to the November General Election|
(formerly known as Partisan)Party-nominated offices are contests in which the nominee is selected by the political party
||Only voters registered with the same party preference as the candidate.
(Except parties who allow non-partisans to cross-over and join their primary).
|Candidates' party preferences ALWAYS appear on the ballot||Presidential contest only, the top vote-getters in each party moves on to the general election.|
Are contests in which the nominee is selected by the voter
||All voters, regardless of party preference can vote for any candidate.
This replaces party ballots in primary elections with a single combined ballot listing all candidates
|Candidates' party preferences ALWAYS appear on the ballot||The top-two vote-getters, regardless of party preference, move on to the general election.|
An office in which no political party nominates a candidate
||All voters can vote for these candidates||Candidates' party preferences NEVER appear on the ballot||In majority vote contests, candidates that receive a majority of the votes win outright in the Primary.
If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, then the top-two vote-getters move on to the general election.