Why can’t Washington join states with late primaries?

By Evan Smith

Arizona and Florida voted in their primary elections last week, four weeks after the Washington primary.

So why can’t we shorten our election season with a later primary date?

Apparently, Washington holds its primary in early August because of an abundance of caution over having time to be ready to send general-election ballots to military and overseas voters.

Elections officials in Washington want the primary early enough to get all ballots counted in time to print those general-election ballots.

“The date was changed in Washington several years ago to ensure there is adequate time to have a primary, certify primary results, conduct any recounts, and design ballots and voters’ pamphlets to meet the federal requirements for mailing out military and overseas ballots (45 days ahead of the election),” Snohomish County Elections Director Garth Fell said a day after the Arizona and Florida primaries. “I suspect it is an extremely difficult turn-around for Arizona and Florida election officials and not without risk if there are any challenges to their primary results.”

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com.

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