Washington’s presidential primary is underway. Are you ready?

A ballot drop box in Mountlake Terrace. (File photo)

Voters began receiving ballots last week for Washington’s March 12 presidential primary.

Here are a few things to know if you plan to participate.

This primary is unlike regular elections as the results are used to allocate delegates to Democratic and Republican candidates seeking to be their party’s presidential nominee in the November election.

While Washington voters do not register by a political party, in this election they must choose one to participate. Voters must sign a party declaration on the ballot return envelope and can only choose a candidate from that party. In other words, a person who signs the Democratic Party declaration must vote for a Democrat. If they cast their ballot for a Republican it won’t count.

You might be surprised to see President Joe Biden isn’t the only Democratic candidate. Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips and self-help author Marianne Williamson are running too. And, for Democrats who don’t like those choices, they can choose “Uncommitted Delegates” which is kind of like “none of the above.”

Democratic candidates are vying for 92 delegates and will receive a proportional share if they get at least 15% of the vote. The rule applies to the uncommitted category as well.

For Republicans, former president Donald Trump and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley are on the ballot.

So, too, are Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and investor Vivek Ramaswamy. Those three have dropped out of the race but didn’t do so until after their names got turned in by the Washington State Republican Party.

There are 43 delegates at stake for Republican candidates that are allotted based on election results statewide and in each of Washington’s 10 congressional districts.

Ballots must be postmarked no later than March 12 or placed in a designated drop-box by 8 p.m. on Election Day to count.

This year’s primary will be held one week after Super Tuesday in which 14 states will hold primaries. They are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia.

In 2020, Biden edged out U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in Washington’s presidential primary, which featured 13 Democratic candidates. Trump, the incumbent president, faced no intraparty challenge.

by Jerry Cornfield, Washington State Standard

Washington State Standard is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Washington State Standard maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Bill Lucia for questions: info@washingtonstatestandard.com. Follow Washington State Standard on Facebook and Twitter.

  1. Used the drive up ballot box in its new location on Dayton. Very handy. It works for folks in cars or on foot.

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