Partisan + Top-Two A Hybrid Primary = A Path to Free and Fair Elections

The primary/caucus process

Every 4 years, a closed bipartisan primary/caucus process takes place nationwide to determine the top candidates for U.S. President. Over a 6-month period, presidential candidates move from state to state participating in election contests. In each state, candidates are assigned “delegates” based on their performance. Finally, major party conventions are held to officially canvass the delegate count and certify the two overall winners. Over the many years this process has taken place, it’s been corrupted: 1. The number of delegates awarded to each candidate typically doesn’t reflect the outcome of the popular vote. Election contests are often winner-take-all. In large states, a candidate can garner a disproportionately large number of delegates with only a slim margin of victory in the popular vote. This results in a premature end to the overall process. Typically, the outcome is determined before most voters can participate. 2. The process of accumulating delegates is further corrupted by “Super-Delegates”. There are a significant number of these delegates at each convention and they are free to support any candidate - insuring that the winners are the choice of the party elite and not necessarily the choice of the voters. 3. In most states, the election contests are not “free” elections. Independent and Third-Party voters are typically barred from participating. In a Partisan+Top-Two primary, major party votes are tallied in the initial partisan winner- take-all contest, and these results could be used to assign delegates to individual major party candidates. This however, would necessarily mean ignoring all the votes cast by non-major party voters using nonpartisan ballots. Arguably, any “free” election for president will not be compatible with the existing closed bipartisan process. If only two candidates advance to the general election, the primary must be open to all candidates and voters because the top two candidates will not necessarily be a Democrat and a Republican. It follows that the presidential candidates cannot be chosen at political party conventions, and the Vice President cannot be chosen by a major party nominee at a party convention.

The Electoral College statutes

Establishing free elections, necessarily means abolishing the existing closed bipartisan primary/caucus system. The only question then, is how to make a smooth transition to a new election process when elections are established by the legislative authority in each individual state? The transition must start in one state, and time will pass before other states adopt the new process. During this time, (which could be years,) the outcome of the election won’t be determined by the voters – it will likely be dictated by which names are on the ballot in which states. Shown below are the existing statutory provisions that define selection of presidential electors in Oregon. Note the names of candidates preprinted on the election ballot - and the associated electors, are selected by political parties – not the voters. These are the provisions that must be replaced in a manner that provides for a smooth and quick transition to a new presidential election process.
THE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY
Partisan+Top-Two A Hybrid Primary = A Path to Free and Fair Elections

The primary/caucus process

Every 4 years, a closed bipartisan primary/caucus process takes place nationwide to determine the top candidates for U.S. President. Over a 6-month period, presidential candidates move from state to state participating in election contests. In each state, candidates are assigned “delegates” based on their performance. Finally, major party conventions are held to officially canvass the delegate count and certify the two overall winners. Over the many years this process has taken place, it’s been corrupted: 1. The number of delegates awarded to each candidate typically doesn’t reflect the outcome of the popular vote. Election contests are often winner-take-all. In large states, a candidate can garner a disproportionately large number of delegates with only a slim margin of victory in the popular vote. This results in a premature end to the overall process. Typically, the outcome is determined before most voters can participate. 2. The process of accumulating delegates is further corrupted by “Super-Delegates”. There are a significant number of these delegates at each convention and they are free to support any candidate - insuring that the winners are the choice of the party elite and not necessarily the choice of the voters. 3. In most states, the election contests are not “free” elections. Independent and Third- Party voters are typically barred from participating. In a Partisan+Top-Two primary, major party votes are tallied in the initial partisan winner- take-all contest, and these results could be used to assign delegates to individual major party candidates. This however, would necessarily mean ignoring all the votes cast by non-major party voters using nonpartisan ballots. Arguably, any “free” election for president will not be compatible with the existing closed bipartisan process. If only two candidates advance to the general election, the primary must be open to all candidates and voters because the top two candidates will not necessarily be a Democrat and a Republican. It follows that the presidential candidates cannot be chosen at political party conventions, and the Vice President cannot be chosen by a major party nominee at a party convention.

The Electoral College statutes

Establishing free elections, necessarily means abolishing the existing closed bipartisan primary/caucus system. The only question then, is how to make a smooth transition to a new election process when elections are established by the legislative authority in each individual state? The transition must start in one state, and time will pass before other states adopt the new process. During this time, (which could be years,) the outcome of the election won’t be determined by the voters – it will likely be dictated by which names are on the ballot in which states. Shown below are the existing statutory provisions that define selection of presidential electors in Oregon. Note the names of candidates preprinted on the election ballot - and the associated electors, are selected by political parties – not the voters. These are the provisions that must be replaced in a manner that provides for a smooth and quick transition to a new presidential election process.
THE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY