Super-Tuesday primary elections are over, and the race for the Democratic nomination is as close as ever. That means that Washington State voters can actually have a big impact on this year’s presidential election.
If you’re a Democrat and have a ballot for the 2/19 primary, you might be surprised to learn that it is meaningless. 100% of the Democratic delegates from our state will be chosen by party caucuses that happen this Saturday, 2/9 at 1:00pm. That means that your primary vote won’t matter at all, except to give Secretary of State Reed a warm fuzzy. Republicans are a bit different, with 50% of their delegates chosen by caucus and 50% by the 2/19 primary votes.
If you haven’t been to a caucus before, it’s actually kinda fun. I went in 2004 for the first time and found that it was way cooler than voting. It works like this: you arrive and find your precinct and make a declaration of who you support. Then you talk with the other precinct members about the various choices and where other people stand. If one candidate doesn’t have enough support to pass a certain threshold, that candidate’s supporters will have to choose someone else. Then when it’s all done elections are held for delegates from each precinct to go to the county convention later in the spring.
The cool thing about it is that you caucus with people from your own precinct, which usually only spans a few blocks of an area. So its a good way to meet some of your neighbors that live right around you. And it’s just a fun, highly interactive way to add your voice to the process.
If you’re a Democrat, the state party has an easy tool to tell you where to go:
Just enter your name and zip and you’re all set. My location is just a couple of blocks from the house, so it’s super convenient.
Update: Saturday 9:24am: Evidently the state party’s servers are overloaded and having trouble keeping up with all of the interest. If you can’t find your info using the link above, check out this slog post with a different way to find your precinct and caucus site.
The Republicans are a bit more difficult, as you’ll have to know your precinct number:
And for our area it appears the Republican meeting location is a bit of a haul down to the Columbia City library. But, I’m guessing that any Republicans who live in the CD are a pretty tough breed and can power through the extra hassles.
Get involved, meet your neighbors, and have fun!