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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Washington presidential primary: About 1 ballot in 8 turned in

About one in eight presidential primary ballots have been returned to local elections offices, the Secretary of State's office said Friday.

While that total of 522,000 ballots out of slightly more than 4 million mailed out, it is still more than the number of people who attended precinct caucuses. State elections officials made that point earlier in the week, when the ballot returns were about 405,000. 

Setting aside the ongoing partisan debate  of primary vs. caucuses in the presidential selection process -- something that mainly energizes state party officials -- it may be a decent showing considering the relative irrelevance of the primary.

Remember that the day the large counties started putting ballots in the mail was the day Donald Trump was the last man standing in the GOP race. He'd like to run up a huge margin, no doubt, but if he doesn't it might not be seen as anything other than a curiosity.

For the Democrats, the Washington primary is essentially meaningless because it won't decide a single delegate; it's not even clear if the candidate with the most votes will dare to claim bragging rights.

With that in mind, it is interesting that ballots coming into the Spokane County elections office were almost evenly split Friday between 26,583 for Republicans and 24,911 for Democrats. There's also a couple thousand with party affiliation not marked for either party; elections officials will have to contact those voters and give them a chance to pick a party.

Spokane is also slightly ahead of the state average for returns, with 15 percent of its ballots in.

Ballots must be postmarked or deposited in a drop box by May 24. For a list of drop box locations, click here.

The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.