David Curtis testifies to the Assembly Committee on Elections & RedistrictingPosted: May 7, 2013
“I am David Curtis, of Marin County, California. I am with the Green Party. I oppose this measure which would require a specified number of votes, as it attempts to apply a performance criteria, an imposition of corporate mentality on a public process. This bill would prohibit write-ins. Prohibitionist devices historically fail under their own ill-conception. The write-in option acts as a fail-safe. Fail-safes are necessary when a system is so corrupted and polluted that the only recourse left is the fail-safe.”
“I would like to reserve time for addressing the other measure later”
“The Green Party of California unconditionally opposes ACA9. The 2010 passage of Proposition 14 led to the fewest number of candidates on the ballot in 2012 from California’s smaller parties than at any time since 1966, when only the Democrats and Republicans were on the ballot. The resultant lack of diversity from Proposition 14 robs voters of political choice and ignores important perspectives.
ACA9 would make that worse, by eliminating one of the only routes to the general election ballot still available to five of California’s ballot qualified parties.
The argument that ACA9 is justified because it would carry-forward a prior 1% write-in primary threshold and therefore ACA9 would have “limited impact” is false. The past 1% threshold was discriminatory against California’s smaller parties whose membership was not large enough to practically reach the write-in requirement, and should have been modified to be a percentage of the registered party members in the electoral district in which a candidate was running.
But at that time, these same parties still had guaranteed general election ballot via the primary election ballot, which it utilized 99% of the time. Now that Proposition 14 has effectively taken that away, the only route to the ballot is via the write-in option in place today. That means the practical effect of ACA9 is to suffocate the remaining gasps of diverse political voice in the state.
In your hearing materials, it states that the six candidates who made the 2012 general election ballot via the write-in route received 13% to 36% of the general election ballot. Does this mean that 13% to 36% of the voters don’t matter? In most OECD countries with which the U.S. is compared, 13% to 36% of the vote would mean 13% to 36% of the seats in parliament. Here it doesn’t mean any seats. Should it also mean no voice?
Rather than further restricting voter choice, the GPCA is on record that Proposition 14 should be amended to restore write-in votes in general elections, a right we’d had pre-statehood, since the founding of the California Republic.
Putting ACA9 on the ballot instead would give impression that Proposition 14 works, and only needs tinkering to further minimize political voice and give the impression that the false general majorities rendered by Proposition 14 are valid.
The Green Party believes Proposition 14 has already proved to be the failure that many predicted….
(Chairman Fong interrupts and asks that the speaker close)
For these and other obvious reasons, the Green Party of California unconditionally opposes ACA9 and urges you to oppose this ill-conceived deform of our electoral system.” 1.
-David Curtis, 5/7/2013
1. Excerpts from the official GPCA letter of opposition, Alex Shantz and Sanda Everette co-signers