Presidential caucuses and primary elections: Our turn is coming

RD2With the national attention focused on the political battlegrounds of Iowa, New Hampshire and other high-profile primary states, some Washingtonians are feeling stuck on the sidelines and frustratingly out of the presidential political mainstream. But our day is coming.

The Washington Democratic and Republican caucuses and the statewide primary election are mere weeks away, and will provide plenty of opportunity to get involved in selecting our state’s delegates to the national party conventions and ultimately who will appear on the ballot in November.

As in other states, the two major parties have vastly different rules, processes and schedules, but both provide a myriad of ways for voters to actively participate in supporting their favorite candidates and choose who will represent them this summer at the Democratic and Republican national conventions in Philadelphia and Cleveland respectively.

The Washington State Republicans begin first, with precinct caucuses scheduled for Feb. 20. The party has provided a summary of procedures and rules for how these operate here. Complete information including how to find your local caucuses is available on the Washington State Republican Party website.

Democrats will have to wait until March 26 for their precinct caucuses, but if you just can’t wait there’s plenty of opportunity to get involved in pre-caucus activities and organizing. Check the 2016 Democratic Caucus and Convention Guide and the Washington State Democrats website

Washington State’s presidential primary election is scheduled for May 24, 2016, but because of differences in rules, it will not mean the same thing for both parties. Republican delegates will be determined by the results, but for the Democrats, who will have already chosen their convention delegates through the earlier caucuses, it will only be a “beauty contest.”  Full details including registration deadlines are available on the Washington Secretary of State’s 2016 Primary Election website here.

— By Larry Vogel



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