Voters may think that with caucuses already taking place in both political parties, Washington has already picked what presidential candidates have won the state’s delegates.
They would be half-right. Bernie Sanders swept the Democratic Party precinct caucuses on March 26 and will get most of the state’s delegates to the party’s national convention in Philadelphia, July 25-28.
The Republican Party is waiting to hear from voters in the May 24 presidential primary. The GOP is choosing its 44 delegates to the national convention in caucuses, but they will be bound by the results of the primary vote — at least for the first ballot, at what could be a contested convention in Cleveland July 18-21. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
First, voters need to make sure they’ve registered by the deadline for the May 24 primary. That would be April 25 to register either by mail or online. The secretary of state’s online site for registration is vote.wa.gov.
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April 25 is the deadline to register either by mail or online.
Forms to be returned by mail are available at county election offices.
In-person registration ends May 16 and can be done at county election offices.
One other thing about these presidential primary ballots: Voters must declare for and vote in only one political party. They also must declare that they have not participated in the other party’s caucuses. The political parties will receive a list of voters who declared for their party, and the Secretary of State’s Office will keep a public record of the declarations for 60 days.
Voters might wonder if the Democrats are holding a presidential primary on May 24, given that Sanders has already won in caucuses. Yes, they are.
Why? Good question.
Democratic Party officials view the caucuses as organizing opportunities where those attending can discuss problems facing the nation and how to win elections. That relegates the presidential primary to what the 2016 Election Central website dismisses as a “beauty contest.” Washington Democrats deserve much more than a beauty contest between Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
Next time, the party needs to open the process up to all voters.