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Sec. of State Wyman: Washington votes matter in early 2020 primary

A voter delivers their ballot to a drop box. (AP)

For the first time in state history, both parties will use the results of Washington’s primary to allocate delegates to their national convention.

“The Democratic Party has never used the results ever,” Secretary of State Kim Wyman told KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show on Thursday. “And the Republican Party just started using the results fully in 2016.”

Washington state angles for relevance in 2020 presidential election

Primaries in Washington state were moved earlier this year, taking place in March instead of May. The new March 10 date puts Washington’s primaries ahead of 16 other primaries in 2020, only one week after Super Tuesday.

Wyman believes the earlier primary date will encourage more candidates to come here to campaign in the coming weeks. A few of the frontrunners in the 2020 Democratic race have already turned their focus to the Pacific Northwest, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Michael Bloomberg, who has recently been establishing offices across the state.

“I am really optimistic [more candidates will campaign in Washington], mostly because of logistics,” Wyman said. “With Super Tuesday, many of them will end up in California, I imagine. And then it’s just a nice, easy hop, skip, and a jump up here.”

Wyman said that ballots will start arriving at households in the last week of February, on Feb. 26-27. She assured voters that we’re not going to “pull an Iowa.”

“Remember, the Iowa caucuses are a process that is controlled by the party,” Wyman said. “So the Republican Party and the Democratic Party in Iowa control those. It’s not a natural election that’s conducted by election officials. And that’s the first thing I thought of is, ‘How do we message that and let our voters know that what we do here is very different?'”

While Wyman does not see a national holiday for election day in the near future, she is expecting a “robust” turnout from the state. Washington state has an 18-day voting window, offers same day registration and automatic registration, and paid postage.

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“I can’t think of any  more barriers we have in Washington state to remove,” Wyman said. “I think it’s more about education and getting information to voters so that they can make informed choices and know when the voting period is.”

Register to vote or find more information about all upcoming elections here.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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