Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Locke wields line item veto, institutes open primary

Washington's embattled primary fight has taken another twist:
Gov. Gary Locke vetoed a primary election scheme yesterday adamantly opposed by the political parties, leaving Washington voters with separate party primaries to replace the popular but court-rejected "blanket" primary.

He also left the fall election picture heavily clouded, as various opponents of the governor's action promised a referendum against the portion of the bill he signed, a lawsuit contesting his partial veto and a voter initiative to give the state the very type of "Top Two" primary he vetoed.

Those uncertainties -- and voters' unfamiliarity with whatever new system survives -- loom over a primary less than six months away, in one of Washington's most important election years in decades.

Doing what he previously hinted at, Locke rejected sections of the bill that would have created a system somewhat similar to Louisiana's, advancing the top two primary vote-getters to the general election even if both belonged to the same party.

He signed the remainder of the legislation, a fallback, "open primary, private choice" system similar to that of Montana and eight other states. It limits each voter to choosing from among only one party's candidates but keeps secret which party's ballot the voter selects. There is no party registration.

The Legislature passed the measure with the Montana system as a backup in case the Top Two was thrown out in court, a goal the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties had vowed to pursue.
Read more at the Seattle P-I

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