NEWS RELEASE

April 1, 2004

For immediate release

GRANGE LAUNCHES "PEOPLE'S CHOICE" INITIATIVE CAMPAIGN IN RESPONSE TO GOVERNOR'S VETO

The Washington State Grange announced today that it is now collecting signatures for I-872 (the "People's Choice" initiative) to run on the November ballot.

The initiative will institute a "modified" blanket primary system (also known as a qualifying primary) in which voters will not be restricted to choosing among the candidates of only one party in a primary election. Voters will also not be required to declare party affiliation when registering.

The initiative would implement a "top-two" system in which the two top vote-getters in a primary election advance to the general election, regardless of party.

"Our initiative will put a system in place which looks almost identical to the blanket primary system we've been using for nearly 70 years," said Grange President Terry Hunt. "The only difference is that this system will satisfy the constitutional requirements set forth by the courts."

The campaign was launched in response to Gov. Locke's partial veto of Engrossed Senate Bill 6453, which was passed by the legislature last month. The bill would have put a top-two system in place, which would then revert to a Montana-style system in the event that legal challenges by the political parties resulted in a successful ruling.

However, the Gov. Locke vetoed the "top-two" system out of the bill, leaving only the Montana-style system in it's place. Under this system, voters are required to choose a ballot from only one party at a primary election.

"The Governor defied the will of the voters, and he defied the will of the legislators elected to represent those voters," said Hunt. "By changing the intent of the bill, he will have to face not only our initiative campaign, but a law suit by the Grange as well. He simply can't veto the qualifying primary out of a bill that is titled 'Enacting a Qualifying Primary.'"

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For more information, contact David Burr, Communications Director, (360) 943-9911.