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California voters will decide the fate today of Proposition 14, the far-reaching initiative backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that dissolves the current party-based primary system.

Known as the "open" primary or "top-two" proposal, the measure would change the current system of electing party nominees to a contest that selects the two top vote getters. Those two top vote getters could be from the same political party. They would face off in a general election.

Except for presidential primaries, voters would get one ballot with all candidates competing in a primary race rather than a party-based ballot. Supporters of the measure say it could encourage candidates take less partisan positions because they would have to appeal to a greater spectrum of voters.

California's Democratic and Republican parties are against the measure, arguing that it would limit voters' choices in a general election. The Green, Libertarian and Peace and Freedom parties also oppose Proposition 14.


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