Independent Voter Project

Occupy Interview with Terry Bain

Occupy Interview Radio host Terry Bain spoke with #EndPartisanship’s legal counsel, Chad Peace, Friday. The hour-long discussion covered multiple facets of the state by state legal strategy to end taxpayer funding for private partisan primary elections.



During the interview Bain covered the three principles that guide the state by state legal strategy.

1. The right to vote is fundamental

2. The right to vote cannot be abridged by a requirement to join any political organization

3. Public funds cannot be used to subsidize private activities of political parties

A key anecdote from the interview is Democrat Eric Swalwell’s 2012 election to California’s 15th Congressional District. As noted in the Boston Globe, long-time incumbent Pete Stark was unseated by the young and independent-minded Swalwell after over 30 years in the legislature.

Under California’s new nonpartisan election scheme, where voters don’t pay for the parties to conduct exclusive elections, Swalwell was able to finish second in the primary election. During the general election, even without the support of the Democratic establishment, Swalwell managed to defeat Stark 53% to 47%. From the Globe:

“And come election night 2012, Eric Swalwell — a 31-year-old Democrat who wasn’t even born the year Stark was first elected — did just that, winning in one of the biggest upsets in the country.

How? He courted the district’s Republicans, which make up just 23 percent of registered voters…

The changes, which came as a result of a 2010 ballot initiative, were opposed here by the Democrat and Republican parties, which did not want to give up their influence over who runs and wins in primaries.”

The discussion also covered how primary elections work and alternative election systems like approval voting and instant runoff.

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