Secretary of State certifies record-high turnout for presidential primary

Turnout totaled 49.56 percent of state’s registered voters

More voters participated in Washington state’s March 10 presidential primary than in any presidential primary before, according to vote counts certified March 20 by Secretary of State Kim Wyman.

Wyman’s office reported a turnout of 49.56 percent in the vote for Democratic and Republican candidates in the presidential primary.

The second-greatest presidential primary turnout was 42.6 percent in 2000, when 1.3 million votes were cast. During the 2020 presidential primary, a total of 2,256,488 million ballots were counted.

The presidential primary drew criticism from many due to the requirement for voters to declare a party affiliation in order for their vote to be counted. Since 2015, Wyman has urged lawmakers to provide an option to not affiliate with a political party in order to participate. This option was given to voters during the 1996 and 2000 presidential primaries and was removed by the Legislature in 2007.

Wyman said she will be pursuing legislation again in 2021 to reinstate an “unaffiliated” option.

“This presidential primary made history even before Election Day by marking the first time in state history both major political parties would use the results to allocate their delegates to the national conventions,” Wyman said in a news release. “It will now go down in history as drawing the highest turnout ever for a Washington presidential primary at 49.56 percent.”

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