Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman certifies record high-turnout for presidential primary

March 10 primary totaled 49.56 percent turnout

OLYMPIA — More voters participated in Washington’s March 10 presidential primary than in any presidential primary before, according to vote counts certified Friday by Secretary of State Kim Wyman that totaled 49.56 percent turnout. 

“Aside from running an accessible, secure, and fair election, my mission was to give voters a greater voice in the nomination process for our nation’s next president. This year’s presidential primary turnout shows we accomplished just that,” said Wyman. “This presidential primary made history even before Election Day by marking the first time in state history both major political parties would use the results to allocate their delegates to the national conventions. It will now go down in history as drawing the highest turnout ever for a Washington presidential primary at 49.56 percent.”

The second-greatest presidential primary turnout was 42.6 percent in 2000, when 1.3 million votes were cast. During the 2020 presidential primary, a total of 2,256,488 million ballots were counted.

The presidential primary drew criticism from many due to the requirement for voters to declare a party affiliation in order for their vote to be counted. Since 2015, Wyman has urged lawmakers to provide an option for voters to not affiliate with a political party in order to participate. This option was given to voters during the 1996 and 2000 presidential primaries and was removed by the Legislature in 2007.

Wyman said she will be pursuing legislation again in 2021 to reinstate an “unaffiliated” option.

County election officials also certified their results for the presidential primary Friday (March 20).

Washington’s Office of Secretary of State oversees a number of areas within state government, including managing state elections, registering corporations and charities, and governing the use of the state flag and state seal. The office also manages the State Archives and the State Library, documents extraordinary stories in Washington’s history through Legacy Washington, oversees the Combined Fund Drive for charitable giving by state employees, and administers the state’s Address Confidentiality Program to help protect survivors of crime.

Information provided by Washington’s Office of Secretary of State.