CAMPAIGN 2020: What voters should know about changes to the ballot

SPOKANE, Wash. — As the March 10 Presidential Primary approaches, Washington voters should expect several changes in this year’s voting process.

Presidential primary ballots will be mailed out Wednesday.

Most rules will stay the same. However, for the first time in the state of Washington’s history, a primary will be used by both parties to narrow the presidential candidate field.

Democrats voted to get rid of the caucus last year, in hopes of getting more votes in. Washington Governor Jay Inslee has even called for the Democratic National Convention to drop the caucus process entirely. Inslee says caucusing is hard for anyone who works a full-time job or is a parent of young children.

Here is an overview of how to fill out the Presidential Primary ballot:

  • Voters don’t declare a political party when registering to vote, but in order to participate in the primary this year, voters must mark a party box.
  • Mark one political party. The Democrat Party is in blue and Republican Party is in red.
  • Match the color of the column with candidates listed to the color of the party declared. If the party circled does not match the candidate voted for, the vote will not count.


Many believe the primary in previous election years was too late to actually matter. A legislative vote passed in 2019 moved the date up to address those concerns.

RELATED: Washington prepares for first primary without caucus

Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said the earlier date change is a good thing.

“Traditionally, our primaries have been almost the last in the nation and we were able to get that date moved forward so now our primary truly counts, it’s relevant and our two political parties are in the action,” Dalton said.

Dalton encourages voters not to wait until after the Super Tuesday Primary to submit ballots.

The final day to drop off the mailed ballot is Tuesday, March 10.