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Ballots need vote, party oath to count

Tue., Feb. 19, 2008

Today is the final day voters can cast ballots in Washington’s presidential primary. In most of the state, that means they either have to mail a ballot so it’s postmarked by this evening, or take it to a drop-off location by 8 p.m.

The presidential primary is unlike any other election Washington voters face. There hasn’t been one since 2000, so some voters might need a reminder about the rules:

“A voter may select either a Republican or Democratic candidate but cannot vote for one candidate from each party.

“A voter must mark a “party oath” box on the signature envelope for the same party as the candidate marked on the ballot. Ballots received without the party box marked will not be tallied for that candidate, although a voter will get credit on the county’s records for casting a ballot.

“The political parties will get a list of the voters who cast ballots in their primary. Marking the party preference box in the presidential primary does not limit a voter’s choices in any future election.

“A few political districts have special elections, such as levies or bond issues. A voter does not need to check the party affiliation box to have a vote counted in those special elections.

“Because the ballot was printed in January, some candidates on the lists have since dropped out, but voters are free to vote for any candidate irrespective of whether he or she is still in the race.

“Republicans will use primary results to award roughly half of the state’s delegates to their national convention; the other half will be awarded through the caucus and convention process.

“Democrats will not use the primary results for any decision on their delegates. All their regular delegates will be awarded through the caucus and convention process.

“Washington has both a primary and a caucus because a state law requires the former, but party rules call for the latter.


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