The goal of Washington’s elections community is civic engagement of our electorate. We work to make voting and participating in the political process accessible, accurate and secure. It has been sad to hear the stories of so many caucus participants who say “never again” after recently enduring caucuses that lasted until after midnight in some cases.
Self-government should be engaging and without barriers, not frustrating and exhausting. I am concerned that new voters, especially our Millennials, will walk away from “the system” rather than begin a lifetime of voting and civic engagement.
I remind everyone that all 4 million of our state’s voters are invited to participate in the national presidential selection process.
The Washington presidential primary is just around the corner, with ballots arriving last week.
This will be the fifth running of the primary since lawmakers of both parties overwhelmingly adopted a citizen Initiative to the Legislature in 1989. It’s the soul of simplicity, security and convenience and gives voters a real voice as the American primary season moves into the final stage before the national conventions.
Voters were mailed a Voters’ Pamphlet and a ballot followed, with both the Republican and Democratic candidates listed. If you want to participate, you sign a declaration on the ballot return envelope for the party of your choice, check that party’s box, and then vote for your favorite candidate of that party.
1, 2, 3 – easy!
You will have a full 18 days to consider your choice and to return the ballot by mail or postage-free county drop box. Postmark deadine is May 24; drop box deadline is 8 p.m. that evening.
The primary is an official state election, approved by both parties in the Legislature and conducted by county auditors and election staff under state law. Results will be posted at vote.wa.gov. What the Republican and Democratic state parties do with those results is up to their state and national committees.
We expect a robust turnout, historically 10 times that of the caucuses. This way of voting is familiar, fair, secure and inclusive of the broad electorate. Increasingly, primaries are the preferred system in America for allocating convention delegates. Our hope is that both parties will use the primary results in 2020, early in the election cycle, and listen to the feedback provided by voters this year.
Make no mistake, Washingtonians, your voice will be heard in this official presidential primary if you vote. For more information, visit www.vote.wa.gov.
Kim Wyman is Washington’s 15th secretary of state and is the state’s chief elections officer.