From IVN.us, January 29th, 2016:
Washington Libertarian Party (LPWA) Chairman C. Michael Pickens believes that the nonpartisan, top-two primary is the best system in the country to get Libertarians elected to office. Pickens cites recent successes party candidates have had in Washington state to make his point.
In most states, the primary process is dominated by political parties. Primary voters participate in taxpayer-funded primary elections where candidates are chosen to represent private political parties in the general election.
However, Washington state uses a nonpartisan, top-two primary similar to California. All candidates and voters participate on a single primary ballot and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party preference, move on to the general election.
In an interview for IVN, Pickens discussed the impact the nonpartisan system has had on the LPWA since it was first implemented in 2008, along with his optimism for the future.
According to Pickens, Libertarian leaders in Washington initially interpreted the top-two system as an effort to stifle the influence of third parties. However, he sees top two differently.
He explained that under more traditional partisan systems, Republican candidates typically attack Libertarian candidates, because if there is a Republican, a Democrat, and a Libertarian on the general election ballot, Republicans will accuse the Libertarian of siphoning votes from the GOP.
“They’re all going to the general election so the votes are being split,” Pickens said.