Washington voters who have been waiting on the sidelines to get into the presidential campaign game finally will have their chance to participate.
Ballots for the presidential primary election will be mailed this week and must be returned or postmarked by May 24. The 18-day voting period begins Friday.
For many voters, the election will test their independent spirit. Candidates from both parties are listed on the ballot, but voters may select only one. And when they do, they will have to declare themselves as either a Republican or Democrat.
That’s the rules.
That party choice will be removed from voter registration records after 60 days, but that is little comfort for those who are fiercely against affiliating with either party.
Even so, the presidential primary gives Washington voters a voice in the process — and in the Republican race particularly, that voice is significant this year.
The GOP will elect its national delegates at its state convention, May 18-21 in Pasco. Republicans have promised that all 44 delegates selected will vote for presidential nominees based on what voters decide in the state presidential primary.
That pledge is for the first vote at the national convention. If the results are contested, delegates will be free to select the candidate of their choice on any subsequent ballots.
While we applaud the state Republican Party’s willingness to listen to voters, we couldn’t be more disappointed with the decision by Democrats in our state.
Earlier this year the Democratic Party leadership staunchly opposed any approach that took away their political clout. They believe the power to elect their presidential nominee should be with the caucus, not the people.
The Democrats held their precinct caucuses on March 26 and Bernie Sanders cleaned up. He will get most of the state’s delegates to the party’s national convention in Philadelphia in July.
To most political observers, Washington state’s presidential primary is nothing more than an empty beauty contest for Democrats since Sanders already has been chosen as the preferred candidate.
The situation is different, however, on the Republican side. It has been reported that Donald Trump wants to visit the state early this month.
“I’ll tell you what, if we can win Washington, it’s going to be over, because we’re taking it as a neutral, which I hate to do. If we end up winning that, I think it’s going to be over … If we can win Washington, we will win it all, and I will never forget you people,” Trump said in a cellphone call reported by the Seattle Times.
The Seattle Times also reported that supporters of Ohio Gov. John Kasich and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who are also running on the Republican ticket, would like to get their candidates in Washington before the primary election.
So at least the Republican vote in Washington will be interesting and will make a difference in the choice for delegates.
It is a shame that won’t be the case on the Democratic side.
Nevertheless, voting for a presidential nominee is a chance to be involved in the process and we hope there is a good turnout. Don’t skip this opportunity to be heard.