Voters in the upcoming May 24 Washington State Presidential Primary may be uncertain how to proceed, as all but one of the Republican candidates have dropped off the ticket since ballots were mailed.
While the ballot mailed to voters shows Ben Carson, John Kasich, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz as Republican candidates, all but Trump dropped out as of last week.
However, Stevens County Elections Department staffer Shannan Hughes said that votes for all candidates will still be tallied and the results will be reported.
“There will be no special handling and we will tabulate the results as usual,” said Hughes.
Hughes said turnout for the presidential primary is usually high in Stevens County. The February 2008 primary election turnout was 49 percent.
Part of the ballot dilemma this year has to do with when Washington State holds its presidential primary.
Washington is 43rd in the list of states to hold primaries, followed only by Montana, California, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and the District of Columbia.
In 2015, Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman proposed to have the presidential primary moved to March 8, but her plan was rejected by state Democratic Party leaders, according to Wyman’s office. She said her office is preparing legislation for the 2017 session to change the default date (fourth Tuesday in May) to an earlier date.
Winning the last state primaries only helps candidates in the lead to have “over the top” results, according to Wyman.
“Both of the presumptive nominees are still hoping to go over the top with their national convention delegates during the final group of primary states, including the West Coast neighbors of Oregon, Washington and California,” Wyman said.
Even with the narrowed field, Wyman encouraged a strong turnout for the Primary as an opportunity for hundreds of thousands of voters to express themselves. She noted the primaries historically have engaged 10 times more voters than the caucus/convention process.
“The Presidential Primary is for all – it gives our state a voice in the process,” Wyman said. “Our Legislature and governor, Democrats and Republicans in both chambers, voted to fund this election. I know citizens are eager to have their voices heard.”
By Jamie Henneman/The Independent Staff