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Primary Elections

Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act
Top Two Primary Chart: 3 Types of Candidate Contests
On June 8, 2010, California voters approved Proposition 14, which created the “Top-Two Candidates Open Primary Act.”
The “Top-Two Candidates Open Primary Act” changes the way elections are conducted for the following offices, now called Voter-Nominated Offices:
Voter-Nominated Offices
Governor Treasurer State Senator
Lt. Governor Attorney General State Assembly
Secretary of State Insurance Commissioner U.S. Senator
Controller Board of Equalization U.S. Representative
Under the “Top-Two Candidates Open Primary Act”, all candidates running for Voter-Nominated Offices, regardless of their party preference, will appear on the single combined ballot, and voters can vote for any candidate from any political party.
The “Top-Two Candidates Open Primary Act” requires that only the two candidates for Voter-Nominated Office who receive the highest and second-highest numbers of votes cast at the primary shall appear on the ballot as candidates at the ensuing General Election.
Party-Nominated Offices
U. S. President and Party Central Committees are Party-Nominated Offices. Voters can vote only for the candidates of the same qualified political party (unless parties allow No Party Preference voters to cross-over and join their primary). For U. S. President, the candidate chosen nationally by each party is placed on the General Election ballot. For Party Central Committees, the candidates who receive the most votes in the Primary win outright.
Non-Partisan Offices
Non-Partisan Offices include the Superintendent of Public Instruction as well as judicial, county, city, school, and special district offices. Voters can vote for any candidate. A candidate's political party preference is not listed on the ballot. In majority vote contests, candidates that receive a majority of the votes (more than 50%) in the Primary win outright. Otherwise, the top two candidates who receive the most votes in the Primary move on to the General Election.​​
Last updated: 3/28/2019 1:31 PM