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Tag: jungle primary

Top Two Primaries and Third Party Voters: A Due Process Mathematical Mismatch

By: Jonathan Barsky

California currently employs an unusual electoral system, which is colloquially known as the “Top Two” primary, in both federal and state elections. Under this system, all of the candidates are thrown into a nonpartisan “jungle primary” that takes place in June and the two candidates who earn the most votes, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the November general election. The only exception to these rules is the presidential election, which still remains open to all major party candidates and several minor party and write-in candidates.

Over two posts, I will address potential constitutional flaws in California’s primary system. This post will discuss a Fourteenth Amendment injury that voters suffer stemming from the Due Process Clause, while the second post will analyze a First Amendment objection rooted in the associational rights of political parties, focusing on California Democratic Party v. Jones and Washington State Grange v. Washington State Republican Party.

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The Primary Problem

By Staff Writer:

As the turmoil over the election season comes to a close, the battle between Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel seems to have finally been put to rest. The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled in late October that McDaniel had missed the twenty day deadline to challenge the results of the primary runoff. However, as some conservative supporters were quick to point out, the Court never reached the merits of the case. McDaniel’s claims were dismissed based on court precedent, not black letter law, regarding timely filing. This lead some online news sources to question whether the law was properly applied or whether McDaniel might challenge Cochran’s seating in the Senate. However, despite the McDaniel campaign’s continued assertion that true justice has been denied, it appears that Thad Cochran will serve a seventh term as a U.S. Senator for Mississippi.    Continue reading

Welcome to the Jungle: Senate Majority May Come Down to Louisiana

By Staff Writer

Pundits have framed this year’s election cycle as having the potential to shift control of the United States Senate from Democrats to Republicans—and given the sheer number of close races across the country, nearly every seat in serious contention has the makings of being the deciding race. Due to Louisiana’s unusual election laws, however, the chattering class might not know which way the pendulum will swing until long after Election Day on November 4th. Continue reading

Rumble Because of the Jungle: How the “Jungle Primary” has Lead to a Vicious Same Party Battle for a Congressional Seat

by Erica Woebse

In the contemporary era of American politics, Congressional races tend to be bitter partisan battles waged between one Republican and one Democratic candidate.  Third parties operate peripherally, typically only able to bring up issues for the major party candidates to address or maybe steal votes away from one of the major partisan contenders.  However, this has not been the case in the congressional race in district 3 of Louisiana.  In district 3, a vicious battle between two Republican incumbents forced the opposing Democratic candidate into the role so often reserved for third party contenders.

The November 6th election resulted in incumbent Republican Representative Charles Boustany winning 45% of the vote, while opposing Republican incumbent Jeff Landry, with strong support from the Tea Party and conservative Republican groups, captured 30%.  As dictated by the terms of Louisiana’s jungle primary system, because neither candidate captured a majority of the vote, these Republicans will be forced to square off again in a December 8th runoff election.  Many political commentators blame Democratic candidate Ron Richard for the need to hold a run-off election.  While Richard was an underdog to win the seat, the 24% of the vote he earned stole votes from the Republican frontrunners and prevented either Republican candidate from capturing a majority of the votes.    Continue reading

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