This year’s presidential primary won’t be the waste of money it has been for, well, three decades — since its inception.
This time the results matter. The state Democratic Party has finally agreed to allocate its delegates to the national convention based on the primary results. Republicans have previously agreed to this allocation, although (at least at this time) President Donald Trump is a shoo-in for the GOP nomination.
Beyond that, the Legislature wisely moved the primary up a few month from mid-May to March 10. This means that the ballots cast by Democrats in Washington should be a factor in determining who will be the party’s nominee.
We urge those who want to have a say in who will be the Democratic nominee to vote.
Republicans, of course, should also opt to cast a ballot even thought it will likely only be symbolic.
However, it’s important to know that in order to vote in either the Democratic or Republican presidential primaries, registered voters must declare their party affiliation when they vote. That declaration will be public information.
That means that candidates soliciting donations, and anybody else who might be interested in what direction you might lean politically, can comb through the voting records to see with which political party you have aligned yourself.
If you want that to remain private, then voting in the March 11 primary might not be for you.
We would prefer that the presidential primary be conducted just like regular primaries in the state in which voters don’t have to pick a party. Voters can vote for Republicans in some races and Democrats in others.
But getting the more open, top-two primary took a lot of work by former Secretary of State Sam Reed, a Republican. His successor as secretary of state, Republican Kim Wyman, has continued to fight for voting independence.
While the presidential primary isn’t perfect, it’s better than it was.
“Washington is very well-placed to get a lot of attention and to make a difference,” said Elaine Kamarck, author of a book on presidential primaries.
Washington is the second-biggest of five states state voting on March 10 behind Michigan. That’s far better than holding voting a week before on Super Tuesday in which 16 states — including California and Texas — will be casting ballots.
The March 10 presidential primary is a vast improvement over past presidential primary because it actually matters.