Secretary of State Kim Wyman praised the Washington Senate for Wednesday’s significant 29-18 vote on Senate Bill 5273 to move the presidential primary earlier in the year by more than two months.
If this bill becomes law, Washington voters will cast their primary ballots to nominate a Republican or Democratic candidate on the second Tuesday in March, or on a date to match with other Western states. Under current Washington law, Washington’s presidential primary is set for the fourth Tuesday in May, which reliably arrives after the field of potential candidates has been significantly reduced, and is often after a single candidate has already emerged as the nominee.
“I am grateful to the Senate for passing this bill to give Washingtonians a greater voice in how our nation is governed,” Wyman said. “Our state’s issues and concerns deserve attention from national candidates and our voters deserve to have a complete slate of nominees to choose from.
“Part of encouraging voters to participate is giving them a voice that matters,” Wyman added, “and the way you do that in the presidential election cycle is by holding the primary before the nomination is a foregone conclusion.”
Wyman said she is disappointed that the Senate’s bill did not include her proposal to allow undeclared voters to participate in the presidential primary.
“In a publicly-funded election, every eligible voter should have access to a ballot,” Wyman said. “Allowing Washington’s undeclared voters to select a preferred candidate would provide more inclusive elections and invite greater participation, while preserving party-affiliated voters’ control over the nomination process.”