Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Voting in Washington State

Washington voters: You're up!

My last post about how to vote in Washington State was convoluted and heavy on personal commentary. Here is a simple explanation, with appropriate links.

Are you a Republican? If so, half of the delegates will be determined by a primary election, and half will be decided in the caucus this Saturday. Go to the state party webpage. That site will connect you with each county's party, but you will need to figure out your precinct in advance. If you are in King County, use this tool.

Are you a Democrat? All of the elected delegates are decided this Saturday at the caucus. You might as well tear up your absentee ballot. Democrats in Washington have never used a primary to decide a presidential candidate; hey probably never will. To find your caucus location, go to the state party caucus finder. You only need a name and a zip code, and that server will tell you where to go for the caucus and will remind you of your precinct number.

What's my precinct number? Good question. If you know your precinct number when you get to the caucus, it will save you from waiting in a long line. Most counties have web lookup tools like this one for Martin Luther King County.

Haven't registered to vote? It's too late for you to vote in the primary/caucus, but it's never to early to register for the vote that counts the most. In the state of Washington, you can register online.

Want to know your voting history and information about where to vote? Go to the Washington Voter's Vault. There you can be reminded of which elections you have participated in back to 2004. Which is pretty cool.

Want to Reed more about the primary and caucus system in Washington state? Check out this useful FAQ sheet prepared by the Secretary of State.

Were you thinking of trying to spoil the other party's election by crossing over between the caucus and the primary? Think again! From the FAQ sheet:
Voters can participate in both the party caucuses and the Presidential Primary as long as they participate on behalf of the same party.

Both major parties plan to hold their caucuses on Saturday, February 9, 2008, ten days before the primary. The parties will invite voters to participate in the caucuses and will require participants to sign an oath declaring their party affiliation.

Voters participating in the Presidential Primary will be asked to sign an oath submitted by the political parties indicating that the voter has not participated in the other party’s caucus process. Each party will receive a list of voters who chose to affiliate with that party in the primary.
Is there anything else you need to know? Well, you should probably have a good idea of who to vote for pretty soon. If you haven't made up your mind, Clinton (Pier 30 warehouse Thursday), Obama (Key Arena Friday) and McCain (Before the 2/19 primary) will all be visiting the state in the coming days. Michelle Obama will visit Spokane and Janet Huckabee will be in the state for two nights. Ron Paul may also be making another stop. (He's been in WA quite a bit already.) Look for them! This Seattle P-I article has the most current details so far.

This post may not have been any shorter than my last one. Hopefully it is more informative.

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