CA: Democrat Turned Tea Party Activists Seeks to Challenge Top Two Ban on Write-In Candidates

An intervener in a lawsuit pending against the implementation of California's top two primary system may expand the scope of the challenge.  Currently, the suit challenges the so-called "party preference ban," which prohibits individuals not affiliated with any party from identifying themselves as Independents on the ballot, and prohibits members of parties not officially recognized by the state from stating their party preference on the ballot, forcing them instead to list themselves as having "no party preference."  The intervener in the suit seeks to challenge the ban on write-in candidates in the general election, and the ban against counting any write-in votes cast in any general election.  Excerpt from CAIVN:
A Democrat-turned-Tea Party activist is seeking to intervene in a lawsuit against California’s top-two style open primary in opposition to the disenfranchisement of write-in voters.  It is highly unlikely that many voters knew there was a third candidate seeking their support in the special election for the open congressional seat in CD 36 held earlier this month.  Indeed, the very existence of a possible third candidate in the race would seem to have been impossible, as this was the first special general election for the US House held under California’s top-two open primary.

There were only two candidates named on the ballot, Democrat Janice Hahn and Republican Craig Huey, but Los Angeles resident Julius Galacki sought the office as a write-in candidate in protest of the new primary system . . . Before launching his last minute write-in bid for the US House seat, Galacki unenrolled from the Democratic Party and changed his registration to the Tea Party in order to challenge SB6’s ban on write-in candidates and its prohibition against counting write-in votes cast in general elections.

“The Top Two Primary illegally disenfranchises voters and disqualifies candidates from running for office.  Simply put, the Top Two Primary must be put on hold until the Legislature has fixed its troubling flaws,” said Gautam Dutta, Mr. Galacki’s attorney, in a press release.

Galacki’s claim hinges on a tension between two sections of California’s election code that arose following the implementation of SB6 and the top two system.  Section 15340 guarantees the right to cast a vote for any write-in candidate in any election.  It states: “Each voter is entitled to write the name of any candidate for any public office, including that of President and Vice President of the United States, on the ballot of any election.”  However, section 8606, added to the code by SB6, prohibits the counting of such votes in a general election.  It reads:  “A person whose name has been written on the ballot as a write-in candidate at the general election for a voter-nominated office shall not be counted.” 
Having voted for himself as a write-in candidate in the special general election, Galacki seeks to challenge top-two both as a registered voter who was prohibited from running for the office as a write-in candidate and as a voter who cast a write-in ballot that was not counted . . .

1 comment:

Cox said...

Why not repeal the whole damn system? It's built to be discriminatory fromt he offshot.

(I know it can't be repealed by litigation alone, I was just spewing my distaste at the law altogether).