Here’s what to know about Washington’s presidential primary

SEATTLE — Voting is already underway in Washington’s presidential primary. The ballots are out and there are some key dates that voters should be aware of, along with some key issues about candidates.

Garth Fell is the Snohomish County Auditor, overseeing elections. He had a positive outlook heading into the primary voting season for president.

“It’s an exciting year, presidential election years always have increased turnout and participation,” Fell said.

The presidential nominating cycle has been a national top story for months, but in Washington, voting is just beginning. As of Friday morning, ballot boxes in all 39 Washington counties are open for your ballot — which should be in your mailbox soon if it hasn’t arrived already.

Fell says work was well under way before this year even began.

“We’ve been preparing for over a year for this election that’s coming up in March,” he said.

There are other key dates for voters to be mindful of:

  • You can register to vote until Mar. 4 by mail or online.
  • You can register in person until Mar. 12 by 8 p.m.
  • Election day for the primary is Mar. 12.
  • The General Election is Nov. 5.

President Joe Biden and Donald Trump are the two candidates expected to go head-to-head, but in the Republican primary, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley has vowed to stay in the race against Trump.

Fell realizes that the state election pamphlet also lists some GOP candidates that dropped out.

“Voters can go to votewa.gov and look up the online guide to see if a candidate is actively campaigning, before they cast their ballot. If for some reason you do vote for a candidate that is not actively campaigning, that is, unfortunately — once the choice is made you can’t pull it back,” Fell said.

In this election cycle, state lawmakers are also trying to pass protection measures for election workers. This comes after letters testing positive for fentanyl were sent out to several election offices in Western Washington.

State and federal officials also took today to address the issue of election integrity, with speakers focused on recent election challenges and steps to reassure the public that elections are secure and fair.

Fell says free, fair and safe elections do start with protecting election workers, but extend well beyond that.

“A safe elections process for election workers also supports a safe elections process for voters,” Fell said.