2024 Democratic presidential primary candidates
A photo collage created by NPI of Democratic presidential primary candidates who have qualified for the March 12th presidential primary, using Creative Commons-licensed photos and campaign logos reproduced under the fair use exception to U.S. copyright law

The 2024 pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry bal­lot in Wash­ing­ton State is set to include three names on the Demo­c­ra­t­ic side, Sec­re­tary of State Hobbs’ office announced today, acknowl­edg­ing the receipt of a list of names from the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Party.

“Can­di­date lists are now com­plete for the statewide March 12th Pres­i­den­tial Pri­ma­ry bal­lot. The state Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty sub­mit­ted three can­di­date names: Joseph R. Biden Jr., Dean Phillips, and Mar­i­anne Williamson,” OSOS announced.

The Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty con­firmed the sub­mis­sion in a news release and point­ed out there will be a fourth option, which will allow vot­ers who wish to iden­ti­fy with the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty to vote “uncom­mit­ted.”

“Wash­ing­to­ni­ans across our state are moti­vat­ed to defeat Don­ald Trump and expand on our state’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic-led suc­cess,” said Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty Chair Shasti Con­rad. “We’re excit­ed that our par­ty has admin­is­tered a fair and Demo­c­ra­t­ic pri­ma­ry process, and we expect the March 12th pri­ma­ry will prove that Wash­ing­ton Democ­rats are ready for yet anoth­er year of record elec­toral vic­to­ry in 2024.”

“Democ­rats have deliv­ered since win­ning back the White House, from his­toric invest­ments into near­ly every coun­ty in Wash­ing­ton with the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act and Bipar­ti­san Infra­struc­ture Law, to low­er­ing insulin pay­ments for the esti­mat­ed 500,000 Wash­ing­to­ni­ans with dia­betes — Wash­ing­ton Democ­rats are fired up for four more years!”

The Demo­c­ra­t­ic bal­lot will look like this:

  1. Joseph R. Biden Jr.
  2. Dean Phillips
  3. Mar­i­anne Williamson
  4. Uncom­mit­ted Delegates

Last week, the Repub­li­can Par­ty sub­mit­ted five names for its side of the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry bal­lot: Don­ald Trump, Chris Christie, Nik­ki Haley, Ron DeSan­tis, and Vivek R. Once sub­mit­ted, names can­not be removed from the bal­lot, so even if some can­di­dates drop out, their names will remain.

As men­tioned here last week, RCW 29A.56.031 is the state statute gov­ern­ing place­ment of names onto the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry ballot.

The cur­rent statute, which NPI was involved in devel­op­ing, makes it the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the major par­ties to draw up a list of names for the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry bal­lot out of respect for their First Amend­ment right of free assembly.

The pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry is what’s known in state legal par­lance as a spe­cial cir­cum­stances elec­tion. How­ev­er, in real­i­ty, it’s not an elec­tion at all, but rather a nom­i­nat­ing event that will influ­ence the allo­ca­tion of del­e­gates to the Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Repub­li­can nation­al con­ven­tions this summer.

The actu­al votes for the par­ties’ nom­i­nees will be cast in Mil­wau­kee (for the Repub­li­cans) and in Chica­go (for the Democ­rats) by nation­al con­ven­tion del­e­gates elect­ed from all fifty states, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia, and U.S. territories.

If you’re a Wash­ing­ton vot­er, you’ll be sent a bal­lot in a few weeks that will have a Demo­c­ra­t­ic col­umn and a Repub­li­can col­umn. If you wish to par­tic­i­pate, you must vote for only one can­di­date from one par­ty, and you must attest that you under­stand that by par­tic­i­pat­ing in that par­ty’s pri­ma­ry, you are choos­ing to affil­i­ate with that par­ty — at least for the moment in time that you cast your ballot.

The attes­ta­tions will be word­ed as follows:

“I declare that my par­ty pref­er­ence is the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty and I will not par­tic­i­pate in the nom­i­na­tion process of any oth­er polit­i­cal par­ty for the 2024 Pres­i­den­tial election.”

“I declare that my par­ty pref­er­ence is the Repub­li­can Par­ty and I will not par­tic­i­pate in the nom­i­na­tion process of any oth­er polit­i­cal par­ty for the 2024 Pres­i­den­tial election.”

The attes­ta­tions are iden­ti­cal except for the names of the parties.

When you vote for a can­di­date in the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry, you are express­ing a pref­er­ence as to which per­son you want one of the major par­ties to nom­i­nate. If enough vot­ers share your pref­er­ence, the can­di­date you like will receive an allot­ment of del­e­gates to the nation­al con­ven­tion from Wash­ing­ton. You can help influ­ence who becomes a del­e­gate, too, if you’re inter­est­ed, by going to a cau­cus. And if you’d like to be a del­e­gate your­self, you can throw your hat in the ring.

After the pri­ma­ry is cer­ti­fied, the major par­ties will receive a list of names of every­one who vot­ed in the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry. How you vot­ed is a secret; the fact that you vot­ed and which par­ty you affil­i­at­ed with is disclosable.

For even more details on the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry and what to expect, see last week’s post on the Repub­li­can Par­ty’s sub­mis­sion of names, which much of the infor­ma­tion above is drawn from. Feel free to ask a ques­tion in the comments.

Mil­i­tary and over­seas bal­lots for the March 12th pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry are due to be mailed out on Jan­u­ary 27th. Bal­lots to in-state vot­ers will fol­low on Feb­ru­ary 23rd.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

Adjacent posts