Opinion

Top two primary best reflects people’s choice

At its root, the word democracy means “rule by the people.” And as President Abraham Lincoln said, “... government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from this earth.”

The top two primary system is one of the best ways to continue rule by the people, and not the parties.

While this is not the blanket primary we’ve all been used to, it’s the next best thing.

And democracy is too precious for us to convolute.

In 2001, the political parties sued the state to throw out the blanket primary and create a new primary system.

After many legal and legislative battles, voters approved Initiative 872, which created the top two primary system in Washington.

The top two primary allows voters to support any candidate of any political party.

The constitutionality of the new system was immediately challenged in court.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld the top two primary.

Starting with the primary this August, you will be able to choose candidates regardless of political party.

I’m proud to be a life-long member of the Washington State Grange, which was the force behind the top two primary system.

I’m glad that they, along with Secretary of State Sam Reed and Attorney General Rob McKenna, had the tenacity to fight for the top two primary.

Since 2004, while the lawsuits have ensued against I-872, we have been using a primary system called the “Modified Montana” — also known as the “pick-a-party” primary.

This system required that people choose only one party’s ballot, guaranteeing that one candidate from each party would be on the general election ballot.

Since it’s inception, people have been frustrated with the Modified Montana system.

We tell voters their voice counts, and then we require them to choose within the party’s preference.

Folks want to vote for the best candidate, rather than being constrained to vote within a party’s choice.

They don’t want to sign an oath to Republicans or Democrats, they want to be free to pick candidates they believe are the best for the job.

I understand the political parties want their affiliation used only by their preferred candidates.

But political parties can still make it clear which candidates they prefer through advertising.

Some are concerned the candidates on the general election ballot could consist of just one party, but I believe the people’s choice is more important.

Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake,

represents Washington’s 13th District.

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