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Answers to Questions about WA State Presidential Primary Election: Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Voting Booths set up in rows on Election Day

Bellevue—Last Thursday, a WAGOP “X” follower posted a picture of her presidential primary election ballot envelope, stating that voters are required to designate party affiliation.

“New Washington State envelopes for mail-in ballots. NEVER had to disclose my party declaration on the OUTSIDE of my ballot before. Don’t feel really good about this,” wrote Rachel Stewart, who goes by the “X” handle @rachstew13.

Though, this isn’t the first time voters have been required to select party affiliation during a presidential primary, it continues to raise concerns every four years, especially with party affiliation now required on the ballot envelope.

Meanwhile, garnering more than 1.3 million views, so far, Stewart’s post exploded on social media after Tesla Motors CEO and “X” owner Elon Musk weighed in.

Clearly, voters are outraged by this disregard for privacy by Legislative Democrats in Olympia.

WAGOP is opposed to the current design that forces voters to declare a political party affiliation on the outside of the state’s presidential primary ballot envelope.

“We opposed this idea when it was first proposed into law. And we’ve tried to fix it with several bills, in the years since,” says WAGOP Chairman Jim Walsh.

By contrast, “WA Democrats have consistently defended their partisan policy.”

In 2019, Chairman Walsh, in his role as state representative for the 19th Legislative District, voted against a measure establishing the current party-preference declaration requirement. “We don’t want to be corralled into categories that aren’t of our choosing,” he said at the time. “The people of Washington want to vote in the presidential primary, and they want to vote without affiliating with either party. Let’s let them do that.”

In 2021, Rep. Walsh and Rep. Skyler Rude (16th Legislative District) co-authored House Bill 1265 that would have allowed an “unaffiliated” option on WA presidential primary ballots.

“WA Republicans recognize the voters of this state are fiercely independent. We respect that and defend their right to be so,” adds Chairman Walsh. “It’s ironic that keeping the presidential primary ballot non-partisan has become a partisan issue. Maybe we can fix this in the months ahead.”

Additionally, some voters are inquiring why candidates who are no longer running for President of the United States appear on the state’s presidential primary ballot.

“The answer to that is simple: The Washington Secretary of State needs time to print presidential primary ballots and the special voter pamphlets that go with those,” Chairman Walsh explains. “The Secretary needs the candidate list in January, ahead of the March presidential primary. We gave him the list of qualified candidates active at that time. Frankly, some of those candidates dropped out of the race sooner than anyone expected.”