Thursday, May 11, 2006

Washington: Voters choose ballot in new "sorta open primary"...

Republicans learn they can't limit primary candidates
By Kasia Pierzga Port Townsend LeaderMay 10, 2006
Jefferson County Republicans were caught off guard last week when Beaver Valley resident Robert Pontius declared he would run for county commissioner.
Nobody can claim he is a Republican candidate unless we say so, both county and state party leaders said.
But under state law, anyone can declare candidacy, and it’s up to the candidate to choose which party he represents, said Katie Blinn, assistant director of elections in the Washington Secretary of State’s Office. No party endorsement is required.
“Any candidate that wants to file and declare themselves one of the major parties would be on the ballot regardless of whether they have been endorsed,” Blinn said.
Under Washington’s new pick-a-party primary election system for the Sept. 19 vote, voters must choose either a Republican, Democratic or nonpartisan (for judge, public utility district races) ballot. The Republican and Democrat ballots include nonpartisan races. Minor party and independent candidates won’t appear on primary ballots, and instead advance directly to the general election.
Washington Republican and Democratic parties succeeded in eliminating the open primary system, which allowed voters to choose candidates from one ballot regardless of party affiliation. .....
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