Assemblyman Kiley Introduces Constitutional Amendment to End CA’s Jungle Primary

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) announced Tuesday he authored and introduced a Constitutional Amendment to allow voters vote to end California’s Top 2 Primary election system, also known as the “Jungle Primary.”  Assembly Constitutional Amendment 16 would require a two-thirds vote in both the Assembly and the Senate, as well as from a majority of California voters.

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“The Top 2 Primary is making a farce of our democracy with gamesmanship, fluke outcomes, and the disenfranchisement of independent voters,” said Assemblyman Kevin Kiley. “After 10 years of broken promises, it’s time to end this failed experiment once and for all.”

California’s electorate adopted its “top-two” primary system at the June 2010 statewide election by passing Proposition 14. It became operative on January 1, 2011 and amended Section 5 of Article II of the California Constitution. Globe contributor Chris Micheli recently explained.

Prop. 14 added to Section 5(a) that “the candidates who are the top two vote-getters at a voter-nominated primary election for a congressional or state elective office shall, regardless of party preference, compete in the ensuing general election.”

“Proposition 14 created a single ballot for primary elections, rather than multiple ballots based on political party, for elected statewide and legislative officials, members of the U.S. Senate, and members of the U.S. House,” Ballotpedia reports. “The measure prohibited political parties from nominating candidates in a primary, although political parties were allowed to endorse, support, or oppose candidates. Proposition 14 did not affect partisan primary elections for president or political party officers.”

Kiley continued: “Proponents of the Top 2 Primary system argued that it would lead to increased voter participation, less partisanship, and more competitive races, but none of these outcomes have materialized. ACA 16 (Kiley) would address a number of bipartisan frustrations with the current primary system that has led to multiple instances of Republicans and Democrats being unrepresented in November legislative runoffs.”

The San Diego Union Tribune editorial board wrote in 2018 about the “hated” Jungle Primary and why, even as they continued to support it:

Now, eight years later, what’s come to be known as the “jungle primary” is again facing ferocious criticism from partisans.

Democrats hate the fact that with so many Democratic candidates splitting the vote, it’s possible that two Republicans could advance to the fall runoff in some of the seven highly contested California House seats now held by the GOP. Republicans hate the fact that there’s a chance two Democrats could advance in the governor’s race, thus potentially depressing GOP turnout in November.

Their reasoning for continued support is interesting:

In an era of heavy partisanship and polarization, the view that it is unhealthy to give too much gate-keeping power to the two major parties is more appealing than ever — especially given their declining support. Gallup has reported way more independents than either Democrats or Republicans since 2011, and the gap is widening. Last year, Gallup found independents at 42 percent, Democrats at 29 percent and Republicans at 27 percent.

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe


  1. Lawrence Thibault says

    I was thinking of going to the ACLU and letting them know that voting in Calif was very one sided and basically made California a single party state. My ability to pick someone that didn’t “make the cut” or spend enough money on their campaign to make it as one of the top two limited the choices available to party “A” or party “A”. not fair.

  2. Johnny and Karen KENNEDY says

    it’s about time Republican leadership stops the Top Two, we are always BEHIND what needs to be done. It Never made sense, good for Kiley for taking some action on this.

  3. California is a left-wing paradise, with left-wing rules, laws and regulations, that even the lefty liberals here are getting sick and tired of the ridiculousness and sky-high taxes, and leaving for other states. The “jungle primary” was voted on and added, to insure that dems would always win and keep their power. As with ALL THINGS democrat……always experimenting and seeing just how far they could go against our Constitution. Look at the VAST voter fraud they did in 2020 to keep their power. That’s the #1 thing they care about and will throw ANYBODY under the bus to keep that power…..just ask Hillary, or pelosi, or Newscum, or Brown, or, or, or….though Mansion is a good thinker, don’t know why he’s stll a dem. Go figure!!

  4. Really??? says

    One could hope.

    Having a party top winner facing off against other parties gives the people clear choices.

    If they are not willing to approve the change then it is initiative time.

    There must be a large number of smaller party supporters that want to see them on the November ballot.

    Hey they might even force Slick to suspend his promised gasoline tax. (don’t hold your breath)

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