Blanket Primary Case will not go to Trial

News Release
Issued: March 08, 2002

The case challenging Washington State’s Blanket Primary system will not go to trial. Federal District Court Judge Franklin Burgess today heard oral arguments in Tacoma. He determined he has sufficient evidence to finally decide this case without a trial.

“We are pleased with our attorneys’ efforts and remain optimistic,” said Secretary of State Sam Reed. “If the Court rules in our favor, it will allow Washington to keep the primary election system the majority of people want.”

In Washington State Democratic Party, et al., v. Sam Reed, the political parties challenged the constitutionality of the Blanket Primary. The lawsuit, filed in the summer of 2000, followed a U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled California’s Blanket Primary unconstitutional.

Secretary Reed has fought diligently to keep the Blanket Primary because it gives voters the freedom to choose the best person for the job.

“For virtually everyone alive today, the Blanket Primary has been the foundation of our primary elections system,” said Reed. “It’s part of our heritage and we aim to keep it.”

Reed believes the Blanket Primary is constitutional because of the distinct differences between the political processes in the states of Washington and California.

Washington State’s Blanket Primary system was adopted by initiative in 1935. It allows voters to choose any candidate on the primary ballot, regardless of party affiliation.