No Primary? No Problem!

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We don't actually have a real primary in WA.

As our Attorney General, Rob McKenna, said, the primary is really "the first stage of this two-stage general election process. ..." (Page 6)

The "winnowing primary" is not really a primary anymore, but a general election with a runoff for the top two candidates.

The reason this is important, the reason it is my biggest problem with the current system, is that we now make some of the big decisions with the smallest number of voters. It used to be that anyone could get on the November ballot, if they got the signatures and filing fee, and voters would have potentially several choices in November. That has ended. We had stage one of the general election this week, in August, where only about 35% of voters participated (estimated; it could grow a bit more, yet). In 2008, we had 42.6% in stage one, and 84.6% in stage two.

And the really sad thing about it is that the people who most wanted this change are people who dislike the two-party system, and claimed to represent the same; but the most involved partisans of the two major parties vote in disproportionately greater numbers in the primary. So the major party members are making the decisions about who we get to vote for more than ever before. Most of the "stage two"-only voters -- about half the voters -- never get a chance to vote for a Libertarian or Green or Independent candidate, because the heavily partisan voters of "stage one" already eliminated them from "stage two."

Granted, it's their own fault for not participating in "stage one." But it's still the opposite of what the I-872 folks said we would get. They said we would get the blanket primary back; that this would empower independent voters more; that we would get more choices. Instead, we didn't get a blanket primary, independent voters have less influence, and we have fewer choices.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on August 9, 2012 8:48 AM.

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