Washington State Primary Elections Explained


With the WA State Presidential Primary Election coming up March 12, 2024, many are asking questions about the process.

The Presidential Primary is a nomination process to help the major political parties choose their presidential nominees. Presidential nominees don’t appear in the regular Primary Election in August. Instead, they advance directly to the November General Election.

Washington State has “Open” Presidential Primaries. There is no party registration, but to vote the voter is required to affiliate with a party via a declaration (check box on the outside of the envelope sleeve) and then only vote for the candidate of that party. This only happens once every four years, and is the only election conducted this way.

The check box affiliation has no bearing on how a voter may vote in the General Election or in any other elections, including future Presidential Primaries.

For all other primaries, Washington uses a “Top Two Jungle Primary” system that gives voters a choice among all candidates running for each office. The August Primary includes local, state, and federal races other than President. The two candidates who receive the most votes in the Primary Election (regardless of party affiliation) qualify for the General Election. 



VIDEO: All Washingtonians should be able to vote in state's presidential primary

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