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Elections Serve People, Not Parties

Andrew Keatts’ recent piece on Measure K, which would eliminate the city of San Diego’s election rules that allows for a candidate to win with over 50 percent of the vote in the June primary, was presented as if this issue is one about business vs. labor, Republican vs. Democrat. It is not.

Most simply, Independent Voter Project, which I co-­chair, got involved because San Diego’s rule that allows candidates to win in a June primary is undemocratic. Period.

lettertoeditorWe faced opposition from labor and the Democratic Party on the state level when we passed the nonpartisan top-­two primary rule just six years ago – we were called “undercover Republicans” and even “establishment shills” by third parties.

Now, we have a more democratic statewide election system.

Despite this history, authors like Keatts look at a measure that simply forces all candidates from any party to face the entire electorate when the most people vote through the same partisan lens that is tearing this country apart.

Measure K, along with its companion, Measure L, deals with moving all major decisions to the November general election. The two measures were presented to the City Council by the Independent Voter Project, and Alliance San Diego. Both organizations have a core belief that democracy is best served when the most people participate. That’s in the general election. Period.

In fact, 75 percent of likely voters don’t even know that elections, for some of the highest offices in our city, can end in a June primary!

What we need are elected officials, journalists and other leaders to stop with the notion that everything in politics is about Democrats, Republicans, business and/or labor.

Elections serve people, not parties or special interests.

The only groups that are afraid of Measures K and L are those that are scared of facing a competition for votes with the entire electorate – when the overwhelming number of voters assume the most important decisions are being made – and when every other elected official, from statewide office to president, is elected.

These measures are not complicated. They are not revolutionary. They are simply an advancement of democracy – elections that serve people.

Jeff Marston is a co­-chair of the Independent Voter Project and a former member of the California state Assembly representing San Diego’s 78th District.

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