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Mercury News - Judge Rules that Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado Can Continue Fight for Open Primaries

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Location: Unknown

By Kurtis Alexander

A San Francisco Superior Court Judge ruled this morning that Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado can continue his fight for open primaries.

The lieutenant governor, formerly a state senator representing Santa Cruz County and parts of Santa Clara County, had petitioned the courts to intervene in a lawsuit challenging Proposition 14, the voter-approved measure that advances the top two voter-getters to a general election, not the political parties' top candidates.

Plaintiffs, who are arguing that the open primary system infringes on the rights of voters and political parties, had resisted Maldonado's involvement in the legal fight. They have said state Attorney General Jerry Brown should defend the state's new elections procedure.

"Today, the court sided with the voters to protect their rights by officially allowing me to intervene," Maldonado said in a prepared statement. "I will continue to do everything in my power to defend the open primary system because California voters deserve equal access to the ballot and am looking forward to the court upholding the will of the people."

Maldonado convinced the Legislature last year to put the open-primary measure on the ballot, and voters approved it in June. Maldonado and supporters of open primaries say they reduce the power of political parties and will put more moderate lawmakers in Sacramento.

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