Top 2 Primary upheld by U.S. Supreme Court

  • Written by Brian Zylstra, Deputy Communications Director/Legislative Liaison Office of Secretary of State
The U.S. Supreme Court announced last week that it will not hear the challenge by the Washington Democratic and Libertarian parties on the Top 2 Primary. This blog post (link is below) focuses on the high court’s refusal to hear the appeal.

Go there to view the cases that the Supreme Court is refusing to hear. (The Top 2 appeal case is found on page 12.)

The open primary, which allows all voters to select their favorite candidates for each office, without regard to party label, has been successfully used since 2008, when U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 to allow it.

The high court ruling four years ago left open the possibility of further challenges based on the way the state administered the winnowing election.

Secretary of State Sam Reed, the state’s top elections officer, let out a cheer when he heard that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the latest legal challenge by the parties.

“This is a victory for the people of the state of Washington,” Reed said. “The Top 2 fits the political heritage of our state.

“ On my first day in office as secretary of state, in January 2001, I was served with litigation papers regarding Washington’s primary election system. I am relieved that this 12-year litigation will be resolved before I leave office.”

State Elections Division Co-Director Katie Blinn had this response to the high court’s rejection of the parties’ appeal:“The Top 2 Primary system has been very well received in Washington because it allows voters to focus on candidates, not the political parties,” Blinn said. “We are grateful for the aggressive and strategic defense of our right to vote provided by the attorney general’s office.”

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