On Saturday, March 26th at 10a neighbors will be gathering to participate in the Democratic Caucus in Washington State. There they will cast their support for either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. Here’s a quick rundown of everything you need to know to participate in this process.
Validate your voter registration
In Washington, any registered voter can participate in a caucus. Start by validating your registration to ensure your name and address are correct. If the address is incorrect, that site will allow you to change it.
Not registered to vote? You can fix that right here.
Find your caucus location
Caucuses are local events near you, not in some far-flung corner of Olympia. To find your caucus location, fill out this simple form at the Washington State Democrats’ website. This will also pre-register you for the caucus. The site may ask you to print out a pre-registration form. If you are unable to do so, don’t worry about it! Pre-registration (and the form they want you to print after doing so) is entirely optional and is in no way required to attend the caucus.
If you have problems finding your caucus location on the website, I encourage you to contact the WA Democratic Party for assistance.
Be sure to mark your calendars for the caucus on March 26th at 10a. Block off at least 2 hours.
Show up and caucus!
It sounds intimidating, but it’s really easy even for us introverted techies. Just show up at your caucus location on Saturday, March 26th at 10a. There will be someone from the Washington Democratic party there, probably with Starbucks coffee and Top Pot donuts, to walk you through the details, but it basically amounts to raising your hand for the candidate of your choice. Before the vote you have the opportunity to discuss your candidate with others present, but your only real requirement is raising your hand for your candidate.
That’s it, all there is to it!
Can’t make the caucus?
If you are unable to make the caucus for religious, military, or work reasons, or have a disability or illness that prevents you from attending the caucus, you can fill out and mail in a surrogate form. When filling out the form you can use the voter validation website to confirm the exact spelling of your name as it is registered.
I’ll point out that the 2016 Washington State Delegate Selection and Affirmative Action Plan in no way specifies what counts as “observance of my religion”. I leave it to you to apply that phrase to your life however you see fit.
Note that the surrogate form must be received no later than 5p Friday, March 18th so get that done sooner rather than later if necessary.
Washington state also has a primary, why should we caucus?
From the Washington Secretary of State’s 2016 Presidential Primary FAQ:
The political parties retain the authority to decide if they will use the Presidential Primary to allocate delegates to the national nomination conventions. The political parties may also use caucus results, or a combination of primary results and caucus results.
The Republican Party will use the Presidential Primary results to allocate 100% of their convention delegates. The Democratic Party will not use the Primary Election results to allocate any of their delegates. They will rely solely on the results of their Precinct Caucuses on March 26th.
So for Democrats the caucus is your one and only chance to select between the two candidates.
Two good candidates, only one President
We Democrats are fortunate to have two good candidates running for President this year, but only one of them gets the job. If you’re passionate about which one it should be, participating in your local primary or caucus is your most direct method of voicing that opinion. I encourage you to participate!
Post updated 2016/02/27 @ 2215 with additional information based on submitted questions.