Voting began Friday for Washington’s March 12 Presidential Primary

Sunday, February 25, 2024

OLYMPIA — Ballot boxes in all 39 counties opened Friday, February 23, 2024 for the March 12 Presidential Primary election. Vote-by-mail ballots have been sent to the state’s 4.8 million active voters, who may return their ballots to county drop boxes or by mail using the postage-paid envelopes included with each ballot.

“Every eligible voter in Washington can participate in this critical step toward picking the next president,” Secretary of State Steve Hobbs said. 
“The choice we’ll make in November comes from the selections made in the primary process. I encourage voters statewide to consult the resources we provide and make informed decisions in all this year’s important elections, including the Presidential Primary.”

For the Presidential Primary only, state law and political party rules require voters to sign a party declaration on their ballot envelopes for their vote to count, and the voter must mark their ballot for one of that party’s candidates. Candidate names on the ballot were submitted by each political party to meet a Jan. 9 deadline specified in RCW 29A.56.031. Candidates who have ended their campaigns since that deadline remain on the ballot, under state law.

Party affiliation declarations provided in the Presidential Primary do not become part of a voter’s permanent registration, and the declaration does not affect how a voter may participate in future elections. Voters’ party declarations are removed from state records 60 days after certification of the Presidential Primary.

Ballots must be postmarked by March 12 or returned to a county drop box or voting center by 8pm on March 12. Voters can update their registration or address online or by mail by March 4 to vote in the Presidential Primary. After March 4, voters can visit a county elections office or voting center until 8pm Election Day to register or update their registration.

Results of Washington’s Presidential Primary will be used to help political parties choose their nominees for President at national conventions later this year. Each party’s nominees for President and Vice President will appear on the Nov. 7 General Election ballot, along with state and local candidates selected in the state primary Aug. 6.

“The Presidential Primary is a unique election for Washington voters, with unique rules for participation,” Hobbs said. “My office and county elections leaders statewide are available to clear up any questions voters might have. We’re committed to providing trustworthy information to help people make their voices heard.”

Further information for Presidential Primary voters can be found on the Office of Secretary of State website at, including detailed answers to frequently asked questions.

Washington’s Office of the Secretary of State oversees areas within state government including managing state elections, registering corporations and charities.


Eli Zehner,  February 25, 2024 at 11:37 AM  

Interesting that our right to vote requires compelled speech to participate. Repeal this ridiculous unconstitutional law requiring declaration of a party.

Anonymous,  February 25, 2024 at 7:28 PM  

The declaration of our party affiliation is an invasion of our privacy. It’s also unconstitutional. WHO approved this in Olympia?

DKH February 25, 2024 at 8:41 PM  

The political parties demanded it. They did not want random people choosing their party candidate. This way Republicans choose their candidate and Democrats choose their candidate. The information on your ballot envelope will not be made public, but if you really want to protect your party affiliation, just don't vote.

Anonymous,  February 26, 2024 at 8:41 AM  

"The information on your ballot envelope will not be made public, but if you really want to protect your party affiliation, just don't vote." But, the information is right there on the back of the envelope next to my name for anyone who handles my ballot to see. What happens to the envelopes with that info on? Do election workers confirm that the declaration agrees with the ballot? Are the envelopes retained in case of a recount? So yeah, just don't vote.

Anonymous,  February 28, 2024 at 3:15 AM  

People are concerned because this is an exception to our otherwise secret ballot. There's no good reason that they couldn't have incorporated the declaration onto the ballot itself. Unlike the votes you mark on your ballot, the box that you check on the outside of the envelope is public record, and therefore accessible to the parties for marketing, fund raising, what have you.

Also, say you live in a legislative district dominated by one party. If you send an email to your legislators, are they going to cross reference to the list and decide whether to read or trash your email based upon your stated party for the primary? There's nothing stopping them from doing exactly that.

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