New ballot system for state presidential primary
Washington state's presidential preference primary, taking place Mar. 26, has a new multiple balloting system. Unlike the state's other primaries and general elections, citizens must choose between voting without declaring a party affiliation or voting a political party ballot.
According to Secretary of State Ron Munro, the primary balloting process was revised by the state Legislature last year in response to public dissatisfaction with the first state presidential primary held four years ago. The 1992 primary, established through a citizen initiative, required voters to choose either a Republican or Democratic ballot.
In the 1996 presidential primary, voters who do not wish to declare party affiliation now have the option of receiving an "unaffiliated" ballot listing candidates of both major parties. The other option is to declare a political party affiliation and receive a ballot listing only the candidates of that party. Under either option, voters receive one ballot and vote for one candidate.
In the presidential nominating process, political parties have the right to consider only those votes cast by individuals who indicate their affiliation with the party. National and state political party rules will determine how the results of the primary are used to allocate delegates. The Washington State Republican Party, for example, will allocate half of their delegates based on the votes of those who choose a Republican ballot in the presidential primary.
Absentee ballots are now available for the presidential primary. Those who request an absentee ballot for the presidential primary must indicate the type of ballot they would like to receive. Permanent absentee voters and those who live in vote-by-mail counties will get a special notice asking them to specify their ballot preference.
For assistance and information, contact the voter information lines: in King County, (206) 296-8683 or 1-800-325-6165. In Snohomish County, (206) 388-3444 or 1-800-562-4367. The state voter hotline is 1-800-448-4881.
Voters Guide on the Internet
The Washington State 1996 Presidential Primary Voters Guide is now available via the Internet's World Wide Web at http://www.wa.gov/sec/96pres/contents.htm.
The online guide features statements and photographs from the presidential candidates on the Mar. 26 ballot, plus campaign addresses and phone numbers, and in many instances, direct links to candidate web pages and e-mail addresses.
Visitors to the online guide will also find extensive information about the state's process of nominating presidential candidates.