Like throughout Kitsap County, and Washington state, Democrats on Bainbridge Island will gather at a number of locations Saturday to show support for a presidential candidate.
But that’s just a first step in a chain of events used to select who state Democrats will support at the Democratic National Convention in June.
The procedure used by the Washington State Democratic Party for electing delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention was established by the Delegate Selection and Affirmative Action Plan, which was passed by the Washington State Democratic Central Committee in April of 2015 and approved by the Democratic National Committee Sept. 11, 2015.
The process of selecting national delegates has four steps: precinct caucuses; Legislative District caucuses or county conventions; Congressional District caucuses and state convention and then, the National Convention.
Although the steps are well defined, people can easily get confused, said Mary Bryant, chair of the 23rd Legislative District Democrats.
“The Democratic party in Washington state allocates delegates based on the caucuses only,” she said. “The primary is not used as part of the Democratic Party’s delegate allocation process. Democrats will vote in the primary but the results of the primary will not be used to allocate delegates for presidential candidates.”
The precinct caucuses are the first step in a delegate selection process that includes the selection of delegates to the Congressional District, the State Convention in Tacoma in June and will culminate with the election of delegates to attend the Democratic National Convention in July, she said.
“We are anticipating a large turnout for the Democratic Caucuses this Saturday,” said Bryant. “Both of the Democratic candidates have energized Democratic voters and we are seeing that excitement in candidate events and in the response to our efforts to get people to the caucuses.”
In Kitsap County, precinct caucuses will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 26. Go to www.kitsapdemocrats.com/2016-precinct-caucus-locations for all precinct caucus locations.
More information on the process is available from the League of Women Voters at www.lwvwa.org.
Bryant said both candidates have strong campaigns in Kitsap County and are working to turn out their supporters for the caucuses.
“It is gratifying to see this kind of energy and excitement among Democratic voters,” she said.
People attending the caucus are encouraged to complete a registration form on line, print it and bring it with them to the caucus. This will reduce their waiting time to get in the caucus.
Caucusing will take place at Bainbridge High School, Blakely and Wilkes elementary schools and Sakai Intermediate School. Doors are expected to open at 9 a.m. at each location.
Following Saturday’s caucuses, representatives of all state legislative districts will meet at the Kitsap County convention at 1 p.m. May 1, at Olympic High School in Bremerton. The 6th Congressional District caucus will be May 21, in Suquamish, followed by the State Convention June 17-19, in Tacoma.
Republican caucuses were Feb. 20.
And to make things even more complicated, Republicans use the results of the state’s presidential primary as their guide for who will get the state’s support at the national level. But the state Democratic party has ruled that the results of the primary election are only advisory for the Democratic party’s nomination process and instead, it uses the results of the four-tiered caucus system.
The Washington State Presidential Primary is Tuesday, May 24.
Who can attend and vote in the precinct caucuses?
Anyone can attend the precinct caucuses to participate in platform and resolution discussions. To be able to vote for candidates and delegates, one must attend, be a registered voter in the precinct, and sign a form declaring him/herself to be a Democrat. Anyone 17 years of age who will be 18 years old on or before election day (Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016) is eligible to participate. Those who are not currently registered to vote may register to vote at the caucus and participate on the same day.
What if I’m unable to attend the precinct caucuses?
The Washington State Democrats’ DSAAP allows anyone who cannot attend the caucuses for one of a number of defined reasons to submit a surrogate affidavit, allowing them to cast their vote remotely. Those reasons are: religious observance, work schedule, military service, and disability/illness. Surrogate affidavit forms may be downloaded from the State Party website starting in early 2016 and will be posted on this website when available. Forms must have been received by the State Party by March 18.
How many delegates does Washington send to the Democratic National Convention?
Washington State will send 107 delegates to the convention. 89 of them are chosen through caucus/convention process and 18 are pledged party leaders and elected officials.