Washington's "Top-Two" debate will go to court

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August 27, 2009

OLYMPIA, Washington: Last week U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour ruled that challenges by the state Democratic and Republican parties against the state's “top-two” system will go to trial. The suit, originally filed in 2005, was filed in reaction to a 2004 vote on Washington Top Two Primaries, Initiative 872 (2004), which created a new "top two" election system and ousted the "blanket primary system." The new system, first used in 2008, allow for whichever two candidates get the most votes advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation. The previously used "blanket primary" allowed for voters to split their tickets.[1] In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the "top-two" system does not appear to violate the freedom of association for political parties but left open the possibility that it might be a violation in practice.[2]

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* Washington 2004 ballot measures