Presidential primary ballots due Tuesday

Voters must check and sign ‘party declaration box’ to be counted

Have you voted in Washington state’s presidential primary yet?

Ballots are due on Tuesday, March 10, and must either be postmarked by that date, if voters choose to mail their ballots, or dropped in a designated ballot drop box by 8 p.m.

The state’s presidential primary is happening earlier this year and Washington voters must mark a preferred party box to vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate they wish to see nominated at that party’s national convention.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Washington voters to have a greater voice in the nomination process for U.S. president,” said Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “In addition to occurring earlier in the year, this primary will also mark the first time in state history both major political parties will use the results to allocate their delegates for the parties’ national conventions.”

Wyman’s office recently sent out a fact sheet with answers to voters’ most common questions about the March 10 presidential primary election.

Asked why voters need to mark a party box, Wyman’s office explained: “Voters must mark and sign the political party declaration (box) on your envelope for your vote to count. If and how you vote in March will not affect how you may vote in any other election.”

Voters’ choice of a party during the March 10 election will be public record for 60 days following the election.

Wyman has pushed for state legislators to include an “unaffiliated” options for those voting in the presidential primary election who do not wish to affiliate with any one party, but legislators have not approved her request.

The Democratic Party, according to Wyman, has requested an option for voters to vote for “uncommitted delegates” on the March 10 ballot.

“You may vote for one candidate or the uncommitted option, but not both. A vote for one candidate listed on the ballot directs party delegates to support that candidate at their national convention,” the Secretary of State’s office stated in its fact sheet. “A vote for ‘uncommitted delegates’ allows uncommitted delegates who represent Washington to decide during their national convention.

As candidate names were submitted to the state on Jan. 7, voters may notice that candidates who have already dropped out of the election are still listed on the March 10 presidential primary ballot.

Voters who have already mailed their ballot or dropped it in a drop box cannot change their vote, but voters who have filled out their ballot but not yet sent it in can request a replacement ballot at VoteWA.gov, or by visiting their county elections office.

Washington state’s March 10 primary election is for presidential candidates only. Voters will have a chance to help decide general election candidates competing for other races, including state positions, in the August primary election.

Those who have not yet registered to vote have until 8 p.m. March 10 to register in person at the county elections office.

For more information about the March 10 presidential primary, including links to available drop boxes, Clark County voters should visit clark.wa.gov/elect ions. Skamania County voters should visit skamaniacounty.org/departments-offices/aud itor/elections.

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