The fight in federal appeals court over Washington state's primary-election system is polarized around two principles. One argues for wider voter choice through a "top-two" primary, while the other pulls for the right of free association by way of a Montana-style system of partisan ballots.Novoselic is a board member at FairVote and Music for America, which promotes turnout among youthful voters. He cofounded the band Nirvana with the late Kurt Cobain.
These two important elements of our democratic experience - choice and free association - need not be mutually exclusive. Nor can we let this false dichotomy distract us from the challenges facing Washington elections.
Just a small modification of the top-two system would alleviate the concerns of all parties involved. The change, to a ranked-choice ballot, would remove the constitutional problems created by Initiative 872, now before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and ultimately build a quality democratic system that would invite increased participation.