Monday, April 11, 2016

California’s Primary Is Finally Going to Matter -- NYMag

California’s Primary Is Finally Going to Matter -- NYMag: "Before digging into the findings, it's important to understand some peculiarities about the California primary. 

First of all, Democrats, but not Republicans, have decided to open their process to independents this year. That's of obvious importance to Bernie Sanders. According to Field, a little over a fourth of Democratic likely voters will be independents — a group Sanders has been winning by a large margin.

 Second of all, California is a state with relatively heavy voting by mail, driven in part by the option of permanent voting-by-mail registration; those who so register automatically receive a ballot about a month from the election so long as they keep voting. In the 2014 statewide primary, 69 percent of votes were cast by mail. This means the "campaign" in California will begin much earlier than June. 

 And third of all, the presidential primary will coincide with the state's top-two primary for all non-presidential offices. Instituted by a ballot initiative in 2010, the top-two system abolished party primaries for non-presidential contests altogether, substituting a "jungle primary" where everyone competes for two spots in the November general election. Unlike Louisiana's version of the "jungle primary," a majority in the first round does not enable a candidate to avoid the second. As intended, the system has produced some two-Democrat and two-Republican general-election contests that reward candidates who can win crossover votes. But against its proponents' expectations, top-two, so far at least, has not boosted primary turnout; in June 2014 turnout dropped to an all-time low of 25 percent."

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