My webserver got compromised awhile back where some of my old posts were wiped off my blog. This was originally written in 2015. However with Top 2, the write in method of ballot access is integral in the primary when there is no one willing to pony up money in non competitive districts.
There is a new bill coming thru the State Assembly called AB 372 which recently passed thru the Assembly Elections Committee 4 to 2. AB 372 wants to inflict ballot fees to candidates who win as a write-in during the Top 2 Primary that was created thanks to the implementation of Proposition 14 in 2010.
Assemblyman Frank Bigelow (R-District 5) represents a district that strongly leans towards the Republican Party and no one decided to run for the seat not until the write in period happened where a Libertarian Party activist Patrick D. Hogan decided to challenge him. Even though Hogan got a place in the general election he only scored 25 percent against the incumbent Bigelow.
Bigelow thinks this bill is going to save the counties and the state money, but he can be far from that. It is going to cost time and money for the elections offices to check petitions in lieu when they already have countless obligations already. The Supreme Court of the United States has already spoken on this matter as well. The US Supreme Court said in Tashjian v Republican Party of Connecticut, 479 US 208 (1986), on page 218, that “the cost of administering the election system is not a sufficient basis here for infringing appellees’ First Amendment rights.”
There are already enough obstacles to protect incumbents in elections unless you are tied to a multi-millionaire such as Charles Munger Jr or Tom Steyer. The system is already rigged for the incumbents and the well-off. Ballot statements are not cheap where in assembly districts they can cost over $4,000 and even if you do not have the money you are still expected to pay the bill for the ballot statement as an indigent candidate.
Due to political parties are not guaranteed a slot if their candidate wins a primary there is less candidates running in elections thanks to Top 2. 1 Board of Equalization candidate, 3 State Senate Candidates and 6 State Assembly candidates were afforded ballot access in 2014 thanks to this new system. It gave people a chance to vote for the candidate of their choosing. Bigelow is not just hurting Libertarians in his district, but he also will hurt young activists who ran as write-in’s and won a Top 2 nomination who are members of his political party.
Voters are tired of coronations. People should be able to hear the arguments why we should keep a legislator or change him or her with a new replacement. Adding procedural language to make a legislator winning by acclimation because the challenger does not have the money to pay the filing fee during the general election is outright wrong.
Additional information thanks to Richard Winger of Ballot Access news for this article.