Seth Woolley's Blog

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measure 65: a top two jungle primary, not an open primary(0)

It's important that people know that Phil Keisling's Measure 65 is NOT an Open Primary.

The media and the public should refrain from calling it an "Open Primary", and instead should call it a "Jungle Primary". An Open Primary is when each party still has a ballot and primary and the voters simply choose which party ballot on the day of the election. It's closer to a "Blanket Primary", where everybody votes for one candidate regardless of party and the top vote-getter from each party (well, officially recognized party) goes on. That was struck down by the Supreme Court, so Washington State went from a Blanket Primary to a "Jungle Primary", or "Louisiana Primary", after the only state where it was used.

Open Primary is a known definition in political science, also called a "Montana-style" primary. It's not even just a misnomer, but a misleading attempt to frame the debate. Open Primaries have advantages and disadvantages that are totally different than a Jungle Primary. The proponents know this but are lying to the public about it because they want to call it an "Open" process, which itself is misleading because it greatly damages the ability of third parties to participate in elections, effectively encoding the two party system into the election system even more than straight plurality voting.

It's odd that in Oregon, the proponents of the Jungle Primary would call it an Open Primary because Washington used to have a real Open Primary (2004 election), again, Montana-style, until an initiative changed the system to the Jungle Primary, Louisiana-style, system.

Since the Keisling would likely oppose the use of the name "Jungle Primary", the more neutral name, "Top Two Primary" should be used.

To prevent confusion, the media should clarify the definitions so people can honestly compare the systems other states have used. Calling it something it simply is not isn't just false, it's an injustice to intellectual honesty.  Measure 65 is a Jungle Primary, a Louisiana Primary, or a Top Two Primary, not an Open Primary, nor a Blanket Primary, two different systems.  Some would even say that Louisiana-style systems are not even technically "Primary" elections, which are normally the processes used for parties to select their own candidates, since parties would be unable to select their own candidates except at their own conventions, really, by endorsement, rather than nomination.  In some sense, it may be considered to be a violation of the freedom of parties to associate by selecting their own candidates, and has been defeated in court on this basis:\

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