Making Your Vote Count in Washington

January 29, 2008

On February 5th, 24 states will hold primaries for the 2008 presidential election. Following Super Tuesday, Washington State voters will have a chance to cast their votes. The race is predicted to be close – and Washington may become a pivotal state in determining our next President. However, making your vote count in Washington can be confusing. Our state has a unique system where a caucus vote takes place on Feb. 9th, and a general primary vote takes place on Feb. 19th. This quick guide will help shed some light on our system, and help ensure your vote truly counts.

Why should I go to a caucus?

A caucus is a general meeting where people vote their support for candidates. In the Washington Democratic Party, the votes cast in caucus meetings determine how delegates will vote at the state convention. According to State Democratic Party Chair Dwight Pelz, all of our state’s delegates are determined by caucus votes. A caucus usually consists of discussions about the candidates, and ends with a vote.

To participate in a caucus, you must go to the precinct for which you are registered. If you are not registered where you currently live (e.g. most college students), you will have to change your address. This can be done on-site at the caucus. The precinct caucus will take place on Saturday, Feb. 9th, at 1:00 pm. Remember to know your precinct number before arriving for the caucus!
Why should I vote in the primary?

A primary is a general vote in which any voter may participate. In most states, primaries are held to determine how a state’s delegates will vote for the presidential nominee. Washington is a different story. Because our delegates are allocated by our caucus system, the primary has no direct effect on how delegates will vote. However, primary results can still influence undecided delegates and help gain media exposure for candidates.

Washington State’s primary takes place on Tuesday, February 19th.

For more information:

  • For phone help, call the legislative hotline at (206) 583-4345
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