(1) A primary is a first stage in the public process by which voters elect candidates to public office.
(2) Whenever candidates for a partisan office are to be elected, the general election must be preceded by a primary conducted under this chapter. Based upon votes cast at the primary, the top two candidates will be certified as qualified to appear on the general election ballot, unless only one candidate qualifies as provided in *RCW 29A.36.170
(3) No primary may be held for any single county partisan office to fill an unexpired term if, after the last day allowed for candidates to withdraw, only one candidate has filed for the position.
(4) For partisan office, if a candidate has expressed a party preference on the declaration of candidacy, then that preference will be shown after the name of the candidate on the primary and general election ballots as set forth in rules of the secretary of state. A candidate may choose to express no party preference. Any party preferences are shown for the information of voters only and may in no way limit the options available to voters.
was amended by 2013 c 143 § 1, removing the one candidate exception.
Short title—2005 c 2 (Initiative Measure No. 872): "This act may be known and cited as the People's Choice Initiative of 2004." [2005 c 2 § 1 (Initiative Measure No. 872, approved November 2, 2004).]
Intent—2005 c 2 (Initiative Measure No. 872): "The Washington Constitution and laws protect each voter's right to vote for any candidate for any office. The Washington State Supreme Court has upheld the blanket primary as protecting compelling state interests "allowing each voter to keep party identification, if any, secret; allowing the broadest possible participation in the primary election; and giving each voter a free choice among all candidates in the primary." Heavey v. Chapman, 93 Wn.2d 700, 705, 611 P.2d 1256 (1980). The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has threatened this system through a decision, that, if not overturned by the United States Supreme Court, may require change. In the event of a final court judgment invalidating the blanket primary, this People's Choice Initiative will become effective to implement a system that best protects the rights of voters to make such choices, increases voter participation, and advances compelling interests of the state of Washington." [2005 c 2 § 2 (Initiative Measure No. 872, approved November 2, 2004).]
Contingent effective date—2005 c 2 (Initiative Measure No. 872): "This act takes effect only if the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in Democratic Party of Washington State v. Reed, 343 F.3d 1198 (9th Cir. 2003) holding the blanket primary election system in Washington state invalid becomes final and a Final Judgment is entered to that effect." [2005 c 2 § 18 (Initiative Measure No. 872, approved November 2, 2004).]
Reviser's note: On February 28, 2004, the United States Supreme Court refused to take the case on appeal; therefore the Ninth Circuit's decision stands.