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California’s Top-Two Primary

Check out our latest research on California's Top-Two Primary System

Unite America
June 8, 2023

Dr. Richard Barton of the Unite America Institute examines the impact of California’s top-two nonpartisan primary system over the last decade. He finds evidence that Top Two has had a positive impact on electoral politics and governance in California. Specifically, the report presents evidence that Top Two has decreased polarization, improved voter participation, and increased electoral competition. The first finding is especially impressive: During the time period that California depolarized, nearly every other state became more polarized, including all other western states. A strength of this report is that it analyzes data from multiple election cycles; this should help reformers better evaluate the benefits of Top Two and consider the upsides and limitations of its implementation in other states. 

Read the full report here.