"Where's Tad?" Gary Thorstensen, Kurt Cobain & Kurt Danielson, Budapest November, 1989

TAD "Busted Circuits and Ringing Ears" !!! Film Premiere February 13 7pm Varsity


Krist Novoselic: Presidential Pick-A-Problem Primary


"Where's Tad?" Gary Thorstensen, Kurt Cobain & Kurt Danielson, Budapest November, 1989

TAD "Busted Circuits and Ringing Ears"!!! Film Premiere February 13 7pm Varsity Theater in Seattle

Photo Krist Novoselic

State involvement with nominations for private political organizations in Washington is an expensive effort producing marginal, if any, impact. Most voters dislike the Pick-A-Party primary. The similar presidential primary is another example of how the system needs reform.

I have a fundamental perspective regarding political participation. I believe that citizens should be able to get together and advance common needs or values. In the course of this association, the citizens can nominate a person to stand for election on their behalf. It is then up to voters to determine who best represents them.

Over the course of time, the state became involved in this process. It’s gone on for so long, most people take this for granted. In most states, voters have to declare their party affiliation for the public record when they register to vote. Party registration is a devise that protects the free association rights of political parties that participate in state administered nominations. For example, if you’re a registered Republican, you cannot participate in the Democratic primary, and visa versa.

With the 2008 presidential nomination process, the Democrats chose to opt out of the state administered primary for the old fashioned Caucus route. The Republicans are allocating delegates from the public primary and the caucus.


The affiliation oath that for the presidential primary serves as a form of party registration. With this version, like the Pick-A-Party primary, the voter can associate on the fly instead of being held to the declaration made when they registered to vote.

We’ve never had formal party registration in Washington State. Since our Blanket Primary was declared unconstitutional, instead of registration, voters Pick-A-Party ballot in state primary elections.

On the fly registration is convenient. Some voters who do not, or cannot participate in the major party caucuses on February 9th can still find value in their vote with the public primary. Since the Democratic primary votes won’t allocate any delegates, the Republican field could pique the interest of voters usually not inclined to vote on that ticket. These voters can check the Republican oath on the ballot and associate with the Republicans only for this nomination. The oath does not bind you to any candidate in the November general election. And in the August primary, you can still Pick-A-Party regardless of whose oath you checked for the presidential primary.

The Washington legislature didn’t include formal party registration when it passed state administered nominations for qualified major parties. Legislators knew voters wouldn’t stand for it. Imposing party registration would only irk voters aggravated by a Pick-A-Party primary. This could very well goad voters into approving non-partisan elections for most of our state. But this is likely to happen regardless.

State administered nominations sideline participation. I believe political association is important. I urge you to attend the caucuses this weekend. (I will also vote in the pubic primary, check the Democratic oath and vote for the Senator from Illinois.) If it’s your preference, attend a minor party convention at a later date. Even though it's an event for a national office, you're bound to learn something about your community.

comments powered by Disqus

Friends to Follow