Washington’s voters do not register as members of a political party, but state law requires voters to declare on their ballot envelopes their party of preference to have their votes counted
OLYMPIA — As required by state law, the political party declarations that voters must sign when participating in the 2024 Presidential Primary were certified Tuesday morning by Secretary of State Steve Hobbs.
Washington’s voters do not register as members of a political party. However, state law RCW 29A.56.050 requires voters to declare on their ballot envelopes whether their party of preference is Republican or Democratic to have their votes counted in the Presidential Primary. The voted ballot inside the envelope will only count toward the candidates of the party declared on the envelope.
No other election in Washington’s four-year cycle requires this type of party declaration.
Under RCW 29A.56.031, each party must provide its list of potential presidential nominees for the ballot by 63 days before the primary, which is scheduled for March 12. Once submitted by the party, state law forbids changes to the candidate list for the ballot.
The declaration language on the ballot envelope for each party is identical except for the party name. Voters will choose between these options:
- “I declare that my party preference is the Democratic Party and I will not participate in the nomination process of any other political party for the 2024 Presidential election.”
- “I declare that my party preference is the Republican Party and I will not participate in the nomination process of any other political party for the 2024 Presidential election.”
A voter’s party declaration is accessible in the public voter files for 60 days following the election under Washington Administrative Code 434-219-330.
Washington’s Office of the 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.
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