Is M65 an open primary?

Measure 65 has been referred to as an “open primary” by its proponents. It is more “open” than the current system, because it would allow independents and minor party members to participate in all primary elections.

However, there is different system more commonly referred to as an “open primary.” Under this system (also known as a “Montana primary”), the Republican and Democratic parties have separate nominations, but all voters (regardless of party membership) get to choose a Democratic or a Republican ballot.

Under Measure 65, all candidates appear on a single ballot, and all voters receive the same ballot. This system is also known as a top two primary, a blanket primary, or a jungle primary. The November general election, with the top two candidates in each race, would be called a runoff.

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