Washington Libertarian Review

Political commentary from the State of Washington with a libertarian perspective.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Parties will sue over I-872

The Tacoma News Tribune reports today that the political parties will sue to invalidate Initiative 872, the so-called "top two" primary election system in Washington State. Briefly, the Republicans have given the state officials notice of their intent to nominate candidates by caucus and convention, and to seek removal of any candidate claiming Republican affiliation who hasn't been so nominated.

At issue is the right to determine the political party "message" in elections. Can Mike the Mover run for public office under the Libertarian label without approval from the Libertarian Party? Alternatively, can Mark Wilson, who has been a candidate as both a Libertarian and a Green, run for U.S. Senate as a Democrat? On the flip side: Should State Democratic Party Chair Paul Berendt or State Republican Party Chair Chris Vance be allowed to participate in the nomination of Libertarian or Green candidates?

When one looks at the history of court opinions it seems pretty obvious that political parties have the right to identify their own messages and control their own internal operations. State officials, meanwhile, are confident that the "top two" system will survive the litigation.

For those who haven't been watching, a more or less balanced overview of the history and the issues (save that the LP isn't mentioned at all), prepared by a Seattle Weekly writer, can be found here.


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