Better late than never, Washington voters will have their say in the presidential selection process today in a special primary with a choice of three different ballots.
Voters who go to the polls today between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. can request a Republican ballot and choose among Lamar Alexander, Pat Buchanan, Bob Dole, Bob Dornan, Steve Forbes, Phil Gramm, Alan Keyes and Richard Lugar. Half the candidates already have quit the race but did not drop out in time to have their names removed from the ballot.
Republicans will award half of the state’s 36 delegates to their national convention based on the results of the GOP ballots.
Voters can request a Democratic ballot and choose between President Clinton and inveterate candidate Lyndon LaRouche. Democrats are not bound by the results of the primary ballots in awarding convention delegates.
In choosing one of the party’s ballots, a voter is agreeing that he or she is a member of that party at least for today. The parties will be given a list of the voters who request their respective ballots.
Voters also can request an “unaffiliated” ballot with all 10 names on it. Neither party will use the results of the unaffiliated ballots. But by taking unaffiliated ballots, voters are not signifying party membership and the parties will not be given their names.
The unusual process is an attempt to compromise between state law and party rules. Washington voters don’t register by party, but national party rules say only their members should select their nominees.