Thursday the WA state GOP filed a lawsuit in federal District Court seeking to throw out Initiative 872’s “top-two” primary. Both the Democratic and Libertarian parties quickly filed motions to join the suit, establishing this as one of those rare bipartisan issues.
Personally, I hope the parties succeed. As I’ve previously stated, I always thought the old blanket primary sucked, but the Louisiana-style top-two primary is even suckier. The purpose of a primary is for the parties to choose their own nominees, and our state’s penchant for nonpartisan elections is downright delusional.
But as the parties pursue their legal strategies, I thought it might be interesting to point out a curious and little-known quirk about I-872: it didn’t actually, technically, get rid of the Montana style ballot. Take a look at the post-872 RCW:
Partisan primary ballots–Formats.
Partisan primaries must be conducted using either:
(1) A consolidated ballot format that includes a major political party identification check-off box that allows a voter to select from a list of the major political parties the major political party with which the voter chooses to affiliate. The consolidated ballot must include all partisan races, nonpartisan races, and ballot measures to be voted on at that primary; or
(2) A physically separate ballot format that includes both party ballots and a nonpartisan ballot. A party ballot must be specific to a particular major political party and may include only the partisan offices to be voted on at that primary and the names of candidates for those partisan offices who designated that same major political party in their declarations of candidacy. The nonpartisan ballot must include all nonpartisan races and ballot measures to be voted on at that primary.
[2004 c 271