Washington’s presidential election year Primary is now under way! Counties have been sending ballots to more than 4 million registered Washington voters this week.
The ballot is loaded with dozens of wide-open races as voters narrow the field for each office to two top vote-getters who will advance to the fall General Election.
In all, 671 candidates are running for federal, statewide, legislative, county, judicial and local offices, and hundreds more are running for Democratic and Republican precinct committee officer.
You can view the online Primary Voters’ Guide here. It’s available in English, Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese. You can also view TVW’s Video Voters’ Guide for the Primary here.
Voters will have until Aug. 2 to fill out their ballots and return them via drop boxes, by postal service, or in person to the county elections office. In-person voter registration is available at your county elections department until July 25 for those not currently registered.
About 65,000 military and overseas ballots were mailed out by June 18, and a number have already been cast and returned to their home counties.
This is this big once-every-four-years election, notes state Elections Director Lori Augino. Voters are choosing finalists for all nine statewide elected officials, including governor. Five of the incumbents are not seeking re-election: lieutenant governor, treasurer, auditor, lands commissioner and superintendent of public instruction.
Washington also will winnow the field for U.S. Senate seat now held by Patty Murray. All 10 U.S. House seats are up this year, including the 7th District, where the dean of the state delegation, Jim McDermott, is retiring.
Most of the Legislature is on the ballot, too, including all 98 House seats and 26 of the 49 Senate positions.
The top two Primary winners in each office will advance to the General Election, without regard to party. Voters do not register by party and may vote for their favorite for each office.
One nonpartisan state Supreme Court race, for the seat now occupied by Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, will be on the Primary ballot. Two other incumbent justices have a lone challenger and will not be on the ballot until the General Election.
The presidential candidates will appear on the November ballot. Washington had input through Presidential Primary and caucuses held earlier. Under state law, the Republican and Democratic national nominees automatically go to Washington ballot. Other minor party or independent tickets are qualifying by gathering 1,000 voter signatures at convention(s) no later than July 23.
Statewide ballot propositions also will be voted on in the fall election.
Secretary of State Kim Wyman, the state’s chief elections officer, urges a strong turnout for the Primary. The last comparable elections, in 2012 and 2008, had a turnout that averaged 41 percent, with a General Election average of double that, 82 percent. Says Wyman:
“This Primary is an important opportunity for the voters to express themselves on the leaders who will guide the state and our communities in the coming years. I know people are really engaged in this highly unusual election year, and I’m hoping they will use their ballots as a means of expression.”
Added Augino: “This is a big deal. Our county partners are ready for a robust turnout, and nothing could make me happier.”