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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

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Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Louisiana Passes "Open Primary" for Congress

On June 16, the Louisiana legislature enacted HB 292, which will reinstate the "open primary"[1] for congressional elections. The first round will be held on the first Tuesday in November, and there will be a runoff in December if necessary.

The Bayou State has used the "open primary" for its state and local elections continuously since 1975. It also used it for its congressional elections from 1978 through 2006; the November/December schedule was used from 1998 through 2006.

Governor Bobby Jindal (GIN-d'l) has signalled that he will sign HB 292, and it will then have to be precleared under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The first regular elections that it will affect will be the 2012 elections.

Washington state first used its Louisiana-style "top two" for all of its state and congressional elections in 2008. The "top two" is facing a trial in U. S. district court in November 2010, as well as future litigation in the 9th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In 2012, if the recently-passed Proposition 14 is upheld, California will become the third state to use the "top two open primary" for all of its state and congressional elections.

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[1] All candidates, including independents, are listed on the same ballot. The top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to the runoff. It's worth noting that Washington and California follow an August/November and a June/November scheme, respectively, for both state and congressional elections.

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