The Blanket Primary

In 2003, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held Washington’s blanket primary system unconstitutional on the basis that it violated the political parties’ right of free association. Washington State now has a pick-a-party primary system.

In a blanket primary system, voters are not required to affiliate with a political party and may vote for any candidate on the ballot. The candidate from each political party who receives the most votes in the primary advances to the general election.

History of the Blanket Primary in Washington State
Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
The Blanket Primary in California
Court Documents
Excerpt from "Charles W. Hodde: Mr. Speaker of the House" Oral History on the Blanket Primary

 

Press Releases

Polls favor modified blanket primary
Recent public polling indicates Washington voters strongly favor a primary system that protects their privacy and allows them to support the person rather than the political party. 1-28-2004
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Reed proposes modified blanket primary
As the 2004 primary approaches, Washington lawmakers face an urgent and challenging responsibility that could change the face of government. 1-20-2004
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State will ask U.S. Supreme Court to review blanket primary case
9th Circuit Court of Appeals reverses blanket primary decision
District Court upholds Blanket Primary
Blanket Primary case will not go to trial