Guest commentary: The process of choosing presidential delegates is changing

  • Tuesday, February 25, 2020 3:57pm
  • Opinion

By John Amell

The way in which political parties nominate presidential candidates is changing in Washington State.

This year, the Democratic Party has a new process for determining which candidates get delegates and how many. There will be a presidential primary on March 10 that takes the place of the precinct caucuses that we remember from 2016 and before.

Ballots will be mailed on Feb. 18 and must be returned by March 10.

There will be a Democratic and a Republican party ballot in the envelope that you receive.

By voting for a candidate on the Democratic ballot, you are declared a Democrat and vice-versa. This becomes a matter of public record. Just like all elections in Washington, ballots can be dropped off in ballot boxes or mailed in (no stamp required).

If you choose to mail your ballot, please do not wait until the last day to insure it gets counted.

Personally, I plan to wait until the results are in from the “Super Tuesday” primaries on March 3 to see if any candidates drop out.

Delegate slots will be allocated to candidates winning 15 percent of the votes or more.

At the Democrats’ Legislative District Caucuses on May 3, we will elect people to fill those allocated slots. The 10th Legislative District includes all of Island County, the southern part of Skagit County and the northern part of Snohomish County.

The Island County portion will meet at Coupeville High School. There is pre-registration for caucus attendance. Pre-registration is not required, but it makes things run more smoothly on caucus day, see

Here you can also register to become a delegate. Any registered voter may run to become a delegate providing that you live within the boundary of the district. Becoming a delegate is a commitment. You will be expected to attend the congressional district caucus and the state convention in Tacoma.

There are expenses that you will be expected to pay.

Those delegates elected at the caucuses will attend the congressional district caucuses on May 30 and the state convention on June 11. The delegates to the Democratic National Convention will be elected at the congressional district caucuses.

The County Conventions will be held the same day and in the same place as the 10th District caucuses. We will vote on the party platform and other business.

Times will be announced, but generally doors will open at 9 a.m. and things begin at 10 a.m.. We will divide up by presidential candidate choice and each group will elect their delegates. Remember, the number of delegates that each candidate gets will have already been determined from the primary election results.

John Amell is the chairman of the 10th District Democrats. For more information, contact

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