Washington prepares for first primary without caucus

SPOKANE, Wash. — History is about to be made in Washington.

For the first time in the state’s history, a primary will be used by both parties to narrow the presidential candidate field. Democrats chose to get rid of the caucus just last year in hopes of getting more votes in.

“We want to make sure that as many voices get a chance to express their preference for who the democratic presidential nominees will be,” said Tina Podlodowski, the chair of the Washington State Democrats.

Some rules will remain the same, except voters will get a ballot by mail instead of caucusing. On that ballot, they’ll choose their desired candidate. That candidate must then get 15 percent of the caucus vote to receive any delegates. Voters will also have to mark a desired party on their ballots, and if that doesn’t match the candidate they chose, then the ballot will not count.

Democrats say this new primary method, using a vote-by-mail system, is the best way to do that.

“Vote by mail always increases the number of people turning out; in fact, it’s our belief that should be the national standard, not just in a nominating election, but in every single election,” Podlodowski said.

Voters will get their ballots on the February 19 or 20, and they’ll have until March 10 to get them mailed in or dropped off in a ballot box.

While Washington’s process is now a bit cleaner than before, Democrats are still hoping to see more change across the U.S.

“As Democrats, we need to take a very hard look as to what the nominating process looks like for the next cycle,” Podlodowski said.