The Top-Two reforms are not just winner take-all, but the primary winners must do his or her utmost. Supporters of these reforms point out that even if the two winners are of the same party, they have to incorporate some of the values, or at least heed the concerns of different voters. In 2012, two liberal Democrats in the West Valley region of Los Angeles went at each other on every issue, including the number of times both candidates had voted in Congress, and how many bills either one of them had passed in Congress. At one point, the campaign between the two got physical. This year, in the 25th Congressional district, for example, both candidates, Republicans and state legislators, are sticking to their guns on key issues, but they must also reach out to Democratic and Independent votes, as well.
However, this reform has put forward candidates who in many ways appeal on nearly the same values. In the 33rd Congressional district contest, for example, both candidates are pro-choice and pro-gay marriage. They both support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country. Despite some of the clear liberal similarities between to the two candidates, Elan Carr is still my choice, because he has a strong grasp of foreign policy and fiscal policy. He also argues for clear reforms to Obamacare, which is not working at all.
A more egregious limitation from Prop 14, however, has occurred in my state senate race: the 26th State Senate district, where two liberal Democrats are running to replace liberal Democrat stateTed Lieu. Sandra Fluke is light-weight carpet-bagger with a home in West Hollywood, who championed government subsidized birth control, and punched back at radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh after he called her "a slut".
Ben Allen is a member of the Santa Monica School Board, who has broadcast numerous endorsements from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents throughout the district. They are not endorsing this man because he is a good candidate, but rather because he has slightly not as bad as Sandra Fluke. How can anyone who is conservative or at least anti-autocratic gladly support a candidate with props from Henry Waxman as well as Don Knabe? This distinction exposes a disjunction on policy as well as credibility, since those two public officials are diametrically opposed on a host of issues. Clearly, they have not endorsed Allen for ideological reasons alone.
At any rate, the district is clearly, heavily Democratic, and progressively so, yet why should voters who find both candidates patently offensive have to settle for one or the other, or not vote at all?
Normally, two candidates from the same party battling for one seat would be nominally upsetting, but this year, four California state senate Democrats have been arrested, indicted, or convicted of serious felonies. The last thing that voters should have to suffer is sending another Democrat to the statist coven of corruption in Sacramento.
There is no way that any voter in the 26th state senate district can trust that the next representative will resist the culture of political criminality in Sacramento.
Because of the Top-Two reforms, voters like me are disenfranchised. A write-in candidate for this nominated office will not be accepted.
But is should be.
I am not alone in my outrage on this issue. Theo Milonopoulos was a write-in candidate for the 33rdhe sued the state of California, including the California Secretary of State and the LA County Registrar.
To be clear, I did not vote for Milonopoulos in the primary, nor would I write him in for the general election. However, his point about having no choice, however, is a valid one. I have written in two candidates on my ballot, and I know that they will not be counted toward those races, but they should count. Writing in a candidate must return as a valid option of all California voters.
Incumbent Republican US Senator Lisa Murkowski launched a write-in movement after losing the GOP primary to Joe Miller in 2010. She eventually won reelection that year.
Write-in voting is a right which must be restored in the state of California. Every voter deserves a choice, and deserves to have a voice on election day, even if it means writing in a candidate with remote chances of winning. Let us hope that following the 2014 election, more legal challenges can resume to bring back the write-in power in California nominated general elections.