by Devin Chicras
So you’ve gotten your Voters’ Pamphlet from the Washington Secretary of State in the mail, and there’s all this talk about “party declarations” and “uncommitted delegates” – what does it all mean? Let’s take a quick look at what you’ll be getting in the mail this week from King County Elections.
The Presidential Primary allows you to participate in the nomination process for the office of U.S. President for either the Democratic or Republican parties. Parties use your votes to determine how to allocate delegates at their national nomination conventions.
Currently, there is one candidate option for the Republican Party (Donald J. Trump) and 13 candidate options for the Democratic Party (Michael Bennet, Joseph R. Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Yang) plus an “Uncommitted Delegates” option for the Democratic Party. Both parties allow for write-in candidates.
What are “Uncommitted Delegates”? The Democratic Party chose to include an option titled “Uncommitted Delegates,” which means you would like the delegates to choose a candidate, rather than tell them which candidate to support.
Keep in mind that some candidates may have dropped out before the ballots were mailed, such as Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, John Delaney, and Deval Patrick – so be sure to do a quick internet search to see if your candidate of choice is on the ballot.
For a quick overview of what to expect, here’s what the Washington Secretary of State includes in their FAQ section:
Every registered voter will receive a ballot in the mail after February 21. Voters in Washington do not declare a party when registering to vote, but to participate in the Presidential Primary, you must mark one party box and sign the declarations on the return envelope.From Presidential Primary FAQs from Washington Secretary of State
Vote for one only. Both the Democratic and Republican ballots will appear on a single (consolidated) ballot. Unlike other elections, you may only vote for one printed candidate on the entire ballot page.
Party declaration. Each major party wrote its party declaration and provided it to the Secretary of State’s Office for ballot materials. For your vote to count, the candidate you mark on the ballot must match the political party declaration (box) you mark on the return envelope.
Why are we having to declare a party on our envelope? Again, from Washington Secretary of State:
For the March 10 Presidential Primary only, the major political parties require voters to choose a party. Your choice of party will not affect how you may vote in future elections. You must mark and sign the political party declaration (box) on your envelope for your vote to count per RCW 29A.56.050.From Presidential Primary FAQs from Washington Secretary of State
Each major party wrote its declaration and provided wording to the Secretary of State’s Office for ballot materials. Attempts to change the party declaration could result in your ballot not being counted.
In the November General Election, you will not declare a party and may vote for any Presidential candidate you wish.
- Check to make sure your registration is active and up to date before you vote
- Need to register or update your information? You can easily take care of that online!
- Select one party and add your signature to your envelope
- Be sure to vote for only one candidate of the SAME party you declared on the envelope
- Get your ballot postmarked or dropped in a drop box (like the one at Skyway Library!) by 8pm sharp on Election Day (Tuesday, March 10, 2020).
Was any of that confusing and you want to get some questions clarified? Do you know in advance that you’re likely to procrastinate (hey, no shame), and might need help reprinting a missing or damaged ballot, or replacing your envelope? Maybe you plan on voting early but still want to collect your “I Voted” sticker, get a selfie, treat yourself to some treats and voter swag, or just get a high-five for doing your civic duty? PERFECT. We (West Hill Community Association) will be holding our Voter Assistance Booth outside Skyway Library on Election Day to help y’all out and cheer you on:
WHCA Presidential Primary 2020 Voter Assistance Booth
Tuesday, March 10, 2020, 4-8pm
Skyway Library (12601 76th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98178)
JOIN ON FACEBOOK FOR REMINDERS
2020 Presidential Primary Dates in King County, Washington
- Wednesday, February 19, 2020: Ballots Mailed, Vote Centers open
- Thursday, February 20, 2020: Ballot drop boxes open (Renton, downtown Seattle – Bellevue, Federal Way, Kenmore, and Kent open 3/2/2020)
- Monday, March 2, 2020: Deadline to register or update information online or by mail (must be received by 3/2, not postmarked) for Presidential Primary election (can still update or register in person at King County Elections office)
- Tuesday, March 10, 2020: Election Day! Ballots must be postmarked by today or returned to ballot drop box by 8pm (Vote Centers and ballot drop boxes CLOSE at 8pm!). You may also register or update information in person before 8pm to vote in this election.
A big thank you as always to King County Elections and Seattle Foundation for their support of WHCA’s efforts through their Voter Education Fund.
Hey neighbors! If you like having a more engaged, informed and vibrant community, you can make a huge impact by joining your neighbors in giving $5 or more a month to the leanest, hardest working all-volunteer nonprofit in the neighborhood.