A person turns in their ballot at a ballot box located near the Edmonds Library in Edmonds, Washington on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

A person turns in their ballot at a ballot box located near the Edmonds Library in Edmonds, Washington on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Presidential primary ballots en route to Snohomish County voters

Voters must indicate a party preference to vote for a candidate. Ballots are due March 12.

EVERETT — Ballots for the state’s presidential primary are on their way to more than 500,000 voters in Snohomish County.

The results will help the Democratic and Republican parties select their nominees for the upcoming presidential election in November.

While just a few states have held their primary elections, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have won the bulk of the available delegates, leaving little hope for other candidates.

Unlike other elections, voters have to indicate a party preference on their ballot. Then, they will choose one candidate within that party.

Party identification remains public information for 60 days after the election, Snohomish County Auditor Garth Fell said. Whichever party a voter chooses doesn’t limit how they can vote in future elections.

For Republicans, five candidates will appear on the ballot. However, Trump and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley are the only two candidates actively campaigning.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy will also appear on the ballot, though they all dropped out of the race in January.

Democrats will choose between four names.

Biden and longshot candidates Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson will be options for voters, along with “Uncommitted Delegates,” an option requested by the state Democratic Party.

Voting for a candidate directs state delegates to support that candidate at their party’s national convention. By voting for uncommitted delegates, it allows uncommitted Washington state delegates to decide their vote for themselves at the Democratic National Convention in August. Republicans will congregate in July for their convention.

Like any other election, a write-in option is available, as long as the voter indicates party preference.

In the 2020 primary, 48% of Snohomish County voters returned a ballot. About 29% voted Republican and 70.5% voted Democrat. The majority of voters chose Trump and Biden in their respective parties. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders trailed Biden by fewer than 5,000 votes in the county.

The 2016 primary in Snohomish County saw a lower turnout at 32%. Then, 41% voted Republican and about 58% voted Democrat. Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton edged out Sanders by fewer than 2,000 votes. Snohomish County Republicans overwhelmingly voted for Trump in the primary.

At the time, the Democratic party relied on precinct caucuses to choose delegates for the national convention and largely ignored primary results.

In 2019, the state Democratic party decided to phase out the caucus and now only uses the primary.

Voters have until March 4 to register to vote or update their current registration online or by mail. For in-person registration, voters have until 8 p.m. on election night.

Ballots for the primary are due March 12.

Jenelle Baumbach: 360-352-8623; jenelle.baumbach@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jenelleclar.

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