Today, the California Supreme Court rejected the first attempt to stop the state from adopting a top-two primary system next year. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
The state Supreme Court allowed California on Wednesday to go ahead with a voter-approved overhaul of primary elections, putting all candidates on the same ballot in the first round and matching the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, in the runoff.
While there are other lawsuits pending on the matter, the likely result will be that the state will start using the top-two primary system in the next election.
The voters of California approved Proposition 14 last June, which would eliminate the partisan primary. It would replace it instead with an “open primary” in which all candidates, regardless of party, compete against each other. The two top vote-getters, again, regardless of party would be the only two candidates on the general election ballot. This could mean elections with only two Democrats or only two Republicans on the November ballot.
The state has also, through the ballot initiative process, recently adopted a citizens’ redistricting board to redraw congressional and state legislative districts, taking the power out of the hands of the current members of the state legislature.
With both of these changes significantly affecting the process for the first time in 2012 election, it will be interesting to see what impact it will have on politics in California.