Both California and Washington state are using the type of top-two system which gives voters only two choices in the election itself. Proponents of top-two primaries might be satisfied if California and Washington returned to using a blanket primary. California used a blanket primary in 1998 and 2000; Washington state used it 1934 through 2002. In a blanket primary, all candidates run on a single primary ballot and all voters use the same primary ballot. Then, the top vote-getter from the ranks of each party appear on the November ballot.
It is true the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated California’s blanket primary in 2000. However, in 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court seemed to feel that the freedom of association problem with either a top-two primary or a blanket primary can be overcome if the state prints a candidate’s party “preference” on the ballot, and if the ballot carries language warning voters that parties don’t have nominees. There is no logical reason why those tweaks could not be made to the blanket primary. That would have the virtue of restoring a broad range of choices for votes in November. For instance, if California has used a blanket primary in 2012, the November ballot would have carried these names and labels on the ballot: “Dianne Feinstein, prefers Democratic Party; Elizabeth Emken, prefers Republicans Party; Gail Lightfoot, prefers Libertarian Party; Marsha Feinland, prefers Peace & Freedom Party; Don J. Grundmann, prefers American Independent Party.”
Alaska uses a blanket primary, although only the Democratic, Libertarian, and Alaskan Independence Parties participate in the blanket primary; the Republicans have their own separate primary ballot.