Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Top Two Primary: Unsound for Washington State

Those of you that live in the Evergreen State probably remember Initiative 872 in last November's election and the "primary fight" that we'd been having for the last year. Opinions on the primary certainly vary.

Most people who consider themselves partisan hated the old blanket primary that we used to have, which was sponsored by the state Grange. That was in fact why the parties sued to get rid of the blanket primary and won (the Grange has never really accepted that the old system was unconstitutional).


In its place - around this time last year - we eventually adopted an open primary system, which we used in last September's election.

But last November, voters bought the Grange's proposal to adopt a "top two" primary system and approved I-872. NPI is strongly against both this system and the blanket primary. We believe that Washington should return to an open primary system.

In our special report, which is a restoration of the website we created to fight Initiative 872, we explain why, and we give you an update on the primary fight. It's worth a visit.

UPDATE: The News Tribune has an article about the primary system today entitled "Parties will sue over primary". Here's an excerpt:
The state Republican and Democratic parties plan to sue in the coming weeks to overturn the primary election system voters approved overwhelmingly last fall.

The lawsuit, which will be filed in federal court, will mark the latest round in the parties’ battle to shape the state’s primary election system.

Though it likely won’t be resolved before the Sept. 20 primary elections, the lawsuit could have long-term implications on elections in Washington and other states.
Goldy at also has a commentary on this news story. However, it seems he confused the terms "blanket primary" and "open primary" in his blog. They're actually completely different:
  1. Blanket primary means a system where you may choose from among all candidates of all parties. So you could skip back and forth the ballot and vote for a Democrat for Governor, Republican for U.S. Senate, and so forth - just like in the general election. This system is what Washington had for decades.
  2. Open primary is different. In an open primary, voters may vote in one primary of a party of their choice - the choice to be made at the voting booth. So you can vote only on the Democratic ballot, or only on the Republican ballot, or only (sometimes) the Libertarian ballot. It's an "open" primary because party registration by voters isn't required. This is what we used last September - the "Montana-style" primary.
You can read more about the primary battle and the different primary systems in our special report.

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