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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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April 02, 2004

Locke's primary mistake

Gov. Locke's rationale for vetoing the legistature's replacement for the unconstitutional but popular blanket primary doesn't hold water.

He says the Montana-style primary he put in place, which requires voters to select a partisan ballot but their choice remains private, will increase voter participation.

But the opposite is more likely.

According to a Washington Secretary of State study, voter participation in the two states that had blanket primaries in 2000 (California and Washington) averaged about 28.3. In the nine states that have a Montana-style primary, voter participation was a measly 14.5 percent.

Worse, if the parties have their way, they will pry open the records of voters' choices so they know who is voting for whom. In the 14 states with closed primaries where voters register by party and independents can't vote--the partisan ideal--voter participation is a measly 7.7 percent.

This week, top officials with the state Republican and Democratic party praised the governor's veto. But they refused to promise not to challenge the privacy of the voter's ballot choice.

Make no mistake, the parties are not done messing with the state primary.

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Posted by Kate Riley at April 2, 2004 10:53 AM



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