While local voters won’t get the chance to weigh in on local races until August — when the state holds its top-two primary — Democrats will have the opportunity to voice their opinions on the party’s presidential race this weekend, now down to ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
However, the caucus process is a bit more involved than the classic primary system, in which voters cast a single ballot, and delegates are divided accordingly.
Before you head to your caucus location this weekend, here’s what you need to know.
The caucuses are this Saturday, March 26, at 10 a.m. Both candidates have urged supporters to get to their caucus location early.
You can also save some time by pre-registering online www.demcaucus.com/register.
That depends on where you live. Go to pollingplaces.democrats.org to find your caucus location.
Who can participate
Anyone who will be 18 years of age or older by Election Day (Nov. 8) and affirms they are a Democrat on the day of the caucus can vote for candidates and delegates.
If you’re not registered to vote, you may do so at the caucus and participate same-day.
How it works
After the initial sign-in for all caucus-goers, the precinct gathers to select a precinct captain. Then, a first tally of votes for the candidates is conducted. Once those results are counted, participants can then give their pitch to undecided attendees and try to tip the scales in their favor.
After that process is complete, a second tally is held.
Delegates are allotted using the results of the second tally, and attendees choose delegates to represent them at the later county conventions and legislative district caucuses.
The caucus ends after a discussion of resolutions for June’s State Convention, and the precinct results are sent to the state party.
Who’s backing who
Local Democratic leaders have come down on both sides of the presidential race.
Clinton has had a majority of support from elected officials to this point, with Gov. Jay Inslee, the Democratic members of the state’s Congressional delegation and a group of 40 state legislators backing the former senator from New York.
“Hillary Clinton has a bold, progressive agenda that families and workers across Washington can count on,” 36th District Rep. Gael Tarleton said in a press release supporting Clinton.
Meanwhile, a group of state senators and representatives appeared at the Sanders rally on Sunday, March 20, including 37th District Sen. and 7th Congressional District contender Pramila Jayapal and 36th District Rep. Noel Frame.
Frame said she was on the fence for quite a while, but Sanders’ economic message resonated: “It really does feel like the system is rigged to benefit people that are already in power and the wealthy, and that is the message for my generation.… I think that millennials have been disproportionately affected by this economy not working for them. At the end of the day, that’s a part I could not ignore in my heart in making that decision.”
To comment on this story, write to QAMagNews@nwlink.com.