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Over 36K Washington primary ballots rejected over failure to choose party

As of Friday, more than 679, 100 ballots have been collected across the state.

SPOKANE, Wash. — More than 36,600 ballots collected in Washington State have been rejected because voters have failed to select a party on their ballots, according to data from a ballot status report issued by the Washington Secretary of State Friday.

As of Friday, more than 679,100 ballots have been collected across the state. In Spokane County, more than 55,000 ballots, or about 17 percent of registered voters, have been returned.    

Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said as of Friday, they have sent out more than 2,700 letters to voters whose ballots have been rejected.

Both parties' primaries are listed on the same ballot in Washington, but you can only pick one or the other to vote in.

And, when you do, you have to sign a statement on the envelope promising you didn't vote in both.

Which statement you sign will become a matter of public record for 60 days, meaning anyone could in theory find out whether you voted in the Democratic or Republican primary.

However, there are a few important things to remember.

First, which candidate you pick stays private. Although in Washington, Trump is the only candidate on the Republican ballot, meaning if you vote in the GOP primary, anyone who looks it up will know you voted Trump. That's part of why some public figures are refusing to vote in the presidential primary at all.

Secondly, picking a primary is not the same thing as registering with a party. It does not matter who you voted for in the past, and it won't affect who you can vote for in the future. It's only a one-time decision.

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