by Devin Braun

As states like Arizona contemplate changes to their electoral primary systems, it’s important to give an update of how Washington State, one of the nation’s premier laboratories of the Top Two primary, along with Louisiana and California, has fared politically and legally since its overhaul in 2004. Washington’s system emerged from the wreckage of the Supreme Court’s rejection of blanket primaries in the 2000 case California Democratic Party v. Jones. In Washington, all eligible candidates list their party of preference, including but not limited to classics like the Employment and Wealth Party, and the top two vote-getters regardless of party advance to the general election. The logic behind such a model is that by opening up the primary to more candidates at one time, the likelihood will be greater of having to get the necessary support from closer to the political center. This would, in turn, produce more moderate politicians, activate greater interest among politically independent voters, and cut back against the corrosive influence of party machines. Continue reading