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What's on the ballot

Frequently Asked Questions

The Presidential Primary gives all Washington State voters a chance to participate in the nomination of major political party candidates.

For more information, read the Secretary of State’s Presidential primary FAQs .

State governments conduct primaries, while state parties hold the caucuses. In both cases, voters are selecting the candidate that they want nominated at the political party nomination conventions this summer.

The political parties choose how they will use the Presidential Primary to allocate delegates to the national nomination conventions. The political parties may also use caucus results, or a combination of primary results and caucus results.

April 25, 2016: deadline to register by mail or online, or to update existing Washington state voter registrations.

Voters not currently registered to vote in Washington state have until May 16, 2016 to register in person at one of our locations.

You will get your ballot in the mail.

In order for your vote to count, you must:

  1. Read the declarations on your return envelope.
  2. Mark one political party declaration box (required).
  3. Sign and date the declarations (required).
  4. Vote for one candidate from the political party you marked in step 2.

For this election only, the major political parties require voters to pick a party in order to participate.

If you mark the Democratic Party box, you must vote for a Democrat. If you mark the Republican Party box, you must vote for a Republican.

The major parties drafted the party declarations that appear on the return envelope.

Voters can participate in party caucuses and the Presidential Primary, but only for the same party.

If you participate in the Presidential Primary, you must sign a party declaration stating that you have not participated in the other party's caucus process. Each party will receive a list of voters who chose to affiliate with that party in the primary.

The Washington State Republican precinct caucus was held Saturday, February 20, 2016. The Washington State Democratic precinct caucus was held Saturday, March 26, 2016. For information regarding party caucuses, contact the state political party organization.

After 60 days, we remove your party declaration from our voter registration system. The Washington Secretary of State keeps a record of your party declaration for a period of 22 months following the certification of the Presidential Primary, during which time party officials or any member of the public can check party preferences.

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