Gardner wants to fix primary woes

Published on Fri, Feb 16, 2001
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Gardner wants to fix primary woes

State senator Georgia Gardner, D-Blaine, wants to do something about Washington’s often-lamented blanket primary system.

After the U.S. Supreme Court found the current system unconstitutional, Gardner proposed two bills to fix the problem. “It’s obvious that Washington voters want to maintain the freedom of choice our current system offers,” she said. “My proposals would preserve that.”

Under the current system, the top candidate from each party continues to the general election; voters do not have to declare party affiliation. Detractors of the system claim elections can be sabotaged if voters who lean one way vote for their opposing party’s weakest candidate at the primary

Gardner’s first bill, SB 5859, would adopt a system in which the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, would go to the general election; voters could still choose any candidate for any position.

The second bill moves the primary from September to June to allow more time for absentee ballots to be counted and votes to be certified. “As we saw this year, it can take weeks before votes are certified,” Gardner said. “This puts everyone at a disadvantage.”

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