California primary and redistricting proposals
Moderate voters [in California] may soon be given more clout in deciding primary brawls, but Greens and Libertarians could find themselves shut out when November rolls around.
An initiative that seems certain to qualify for the November ballot would open now-closed primaries by allowing voters to choose any candidate regardless of party affiliation. Only the top two vote-getters in the primary would move on, raising the prospect of an all-Democrat general election in San Francisco or a Republican-only field in Orange County, under the measure, which is sponsored by an influential bipartisan team and backed by wealthy patrons. ...
Maverick lawmakers are crafting legislation that could end the Legislature's established means of self-preservation: the once-a-decade process of drawing new political boundary lines, or reapportionment.
Over the years, the Legislature's creative cartographers have drawn cradle-, fettuccine-, and fingertip-shaped districts, using party registration as the dominant consideration. The differences in party registration are narrower than 8 percent in only about a dozen of 120 legislative districts. As a result, critics say, most races are decided during the primary.
"If you win in the primary, you win in the general," said Assembly Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who is carrying legislation to give an independent panel the district-drawing job. -- State initiatives push for open primaries, redistricting reform (Copley News Service)