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.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

GOP sues to invalidate Top Two

The state Republican Party has filed a lawsuit in federal court against nine auditors and elections managers in Washington State, seeking to invalidate the "Top Two" primary system and have the open primary system (the "Montana" system) reinstated.

We applaud this move and sincerely hope this lawsuit, which will soon be joined by the Democrats, and likely the Libertarians as well, will succeed.

The "Top Two" system is fundamentally flawed and unsound. It should be permanently abolished.

Many voters consider themselves to be politically independent and hate the idea of not being able to cross over on the primary ballot. But they shouldn't have that privilege. That's what the general election is for.

The idea behind a primary is to decide which candidates will represent the different political parties in the general election. So it only makes sense that Republicans should nominate their candidate and Democrats should nominate theirs.

In much of the country, the system used for decades and decades was the caucus and convention system, which limited citizen involvement. The advent of primaries allowed voters to become involved in the selection of a party's candidate.

But political parties still have their rights under the First Amendment (freedom of association). That is why most of the country has a primary system in which the voter can only vote on one party's ballot. In some states, voters actually have to register with a political party before they can vote.

Our state's parties aren't asking for that. They're just asking for a primary in which the voter is only allowed to vote on one party's ballot. The voter is not required to register and can pick any party's ballot that they wish at the time of the election. This is the open primary system.

This is the best solution for Washington State. We hope the unfair "Top Two" system is quickly repealed and the open primary system is reinstated by the court.

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