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Friday, February 20, 2004 - Page updated at 10:51 A.M.
Louisiana-style primary gets support in Olympia
By Andrew Garber
Secretary of State Sam Reed yesterday said he's counting votes in both the House and Senate, and he sees momentum building for the Louisiana system. "It's been looking very positive," said Reed, who favors the idea.
In Louisiana, the top two vote-getters advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.
Reed and many legislators believe it would cause the least disruption for voters here. Like in Washington's existing primary, voters could cast ballots for candidates regardless of party affiliation. However, instead of one candidate from each party advancing to the general election, only the two people with the most votes would move ahead.
The state's major parties, which sued to get rid of the blanket primary, promise to file another lawsuit if the Legislature adopts the Louisiana system.
The parties are pushing for an Arizona-style primary that would stop crossover voting but allow independents to take part in picking party nominees.
Under the Arizona plan, there would be a system of party registration, but it would be voluntary and could be changed each election. The voter would get the primary ballot of his or her preferred party.
Independents could vote in either party's primary, and no record would be kept of which ballot they took.
The Legislature also is considering a measure similar to the "open primary, private choice" system used in Montana. Voters would pick one party's ballot for the primary, but no record would be kept of their party choice.
Material from The Associated Press is included in this story.
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