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Washington presidential primary ballots to be mailed this week

Keep an eye out for your presidential primary ballot over the next few days. Ballots must be returned by March 10 at 8 p.m.

SEATTLE — Ballots for Washington state’s presidential primary election will go in the mail this week.

King County Elections began mailing ballots Wednesday, Snohomish County will mail ballots Thursday, and Pierce County ballots will be mailed Friday.

Voters will have about two weeks to cast their vote and return their stamp-free ballot to a drop box or by mail. Drop boxes will close March 10 at 8 p.m.

Thirteen Democratic candidates will be on the primary election ballot, as submitted by Democratic party officials last month. There will also be an “uncommitted” option for Democrats, which allows uncommitted delegates who represent Washington to decide during the national convention.

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President Donald Trump will be the sole Republican candidate on the ballot. The Republicans did not ask for the “uncommitted” option, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Just for the presidential primary, voters will need to state their party preference in order for their vote to count. Democratic voters cannot vote for a Republican and vice versa. This also allows the Democrat and Republican parties access to voter lists, although actual votes remain private.

This is the first year Washington’s presidential primary will be in March. Last year the state Legislature moved the primary up from the fourth Tuesday in May to strengthen the state’s role in the national process.

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By making the primary earlier in election season, Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman hoped it would drive turnout. Washington state had 34.78% turnout in the 2016 presidential primary and 41.88% turnout in the 2008 presidential primary.

“By making Washington more relevant in this process, I’m optimistic we’ll see record-breaking turnout in March,” Wyman said in a statement.

King County Elections projected 40% turnout for the presidential primary.

On March 10, track results on king5.com/elections, and tune in to a special presentation at 8 p.m. when initial returns are released. The special presentation will be broadcast on KING 5, king5.com, the KING 5 mobile app, and the KING 5 YouTube channel. KING 5 News Political Analysts Ron Sims, who served in the Obama administration, and Scott McClellan, who was a press secretary under President George W. Bush, will offer insight and analysis.