Voters in California OK open primaries

June 10, 2010


LOS ANGELES | Blaming political parties for California’s dysfunction, voters dumped the state’s partisan primary but got no guarantee it would change government.

The passage of Proposition 14 on Tuesday gave the nation’s most populous state an open primary in which voters can cast ballots for any candidate.

Thomas Garner, 65, said he voted for the initiative because he can’t see a difference between Republicans and Democrats.

“They fight like cats and dogs, but in the end they’re all the same. The system is broken,” said Mr. Garner, a lawyer from San Diego.

“Californians hate their state’s politics, and they are looking for measures to change it,” added Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College.

Still, it’s doubtful Proposition 14 will be the panacea to political stalemate in Sacramento, he added.

Democrats will likely continue representing liberal regions, with Republicans elected in conservative areas.

Proposition 14 was backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has long argued that centrist candidates rarely win primaries dominated by party activists.

The open-primary measure was opposed by California’s Republican and Democratic parties. Officials complained it would give well-funded special interests the greatest sway over the election process and leave candidates beholden to big-money donors, not voters.

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