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National Grange News
U.S. Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Washington State Grange
  MAY 2008 -- In 2004, voters in the State of Washington passed an initiative changing the State’s primary election system. The People’s Choice Initiative of 2004, or Initiative 872, provided that voters could choose any candidate, and the top two vote getters for each office, regardless of party preference, would advance to the general election. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit nullified I–872 stating it imposed an unconstitutional burden on state political parties’ First Amendment rights. Since then, the Washington State Grange fought the decision all the way up to the United States Supreme Court, and on March 18, 2008, the country’s highest court UPHELD the constitutionality of the top-two primary. Voters in Washington finally will have the opportunity to choose the elected officials whom they believe will best represent them.

  “The Court should be commended for agreeing with the Grange’s appeal and upholding the will of the voters of this state,” stated past Washington State Grange President and current Director of Government Affairs Terry Hunt. “We filed this appeal in the Supreme Court because we believed from day one that Initiative 872 would stand up to any and all constitutional challenges, and now the voters of this state get what they want and deserve: a direct line to choosing the elected officials who will best represent what they need.”

In a footnote to the majority opinion, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas wrote favorably about the Washington State Grange: “The Washington State Grange is a fraternal, social, and civic organization chartered by the National Grange in 1889. Although originally formed to represent the opinions of farmers, the organization has advocated a variety of goals, including women’s suffrage, rural electrification, protection of water resources, and universal telephone service. The State Grange also supported the Washington constitutional amendment establishing initiatives and referendums and sponsored the 1934 blanket primary initiative.”

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