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The Good Things California’s ‘Top Two’ Elections Have Wrought

Dr. Richard Barton writes about the positive impact of California's open, nonpartisan primaries

Richard Barton
June 30, 2023

Dr. Richard Barton, Democracy Fellow at Unite America and professor at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, published an op-ed in Governing Magazine about the outcomes of California's "Top Two" election system.

A new report from the Unite America Institute on top-two nonpartisan primaries in California finds that the reform has had positive impacts on electoral politics and governance. While the vast majority of states have experienced a decline in electoral competition and a rise in polarization in recent years, California has trended in a much better direction since reforming its primaries. Analyzing the state across several criteria, the report presents evidence that Top Two in California has decreased polarization, improved voter participation, and increased electoral competition.

Read the full article here.