Want to participate in the caucus but confused about how it works? Here are answers to help explain the process.
- Where will the caucus in my area be held?
To find your caucus you need to know your precinct. If you don’t know your precinct, click here, fill in your information then click on “my districts & elected officials” to locate your precinct, then go to our list of precincts located here.
- Can I volunteer to help out with my caucus?
Yes. We need volunteers to register people and to help set up for the caucuses. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact your county party.
- What is the difference between a caucus and a primary? Why aren’t we having a primary this year?
A primary election is when people get to vote, in our state via absentee ballots, to select who their nominee will be. In Washington State we have used both a primary and a caucus in the past to allocate our delegates to the national convention. This year, the Secretary of State and the State Legislature decided to cancel the primary due to budgetary considerations. Instead of simply filling out a ballot as in a primary, in a caucus, members of local communities meet and elect delegates to the County Convention, at the county convention those delegates will select delegates to the State Convention who will select our State’s 40 delegates to the national convention.
- Do I have to be registered as a Republican to participate?
No. Washington State does not have partisan voter registration. So you are unable to register as a Republican. To participate in the caucus, you need to be registered to vote, and be willing to sign a form that you “consider yourself to be a republican” and you will not be participating in any other parties nominating caucus this year.
- My county changed precinct boundaries because of redistricting. Am I caucusing using my old precinct or new precinct boundary?
Your county party submitted a list of precincts to the WSRP by December 14th, 2011. So, more likely than not, you are going to be caucusing under your old precinct boundary. If you have any questions, please contact your county party.
- In the past, I’ve voted for Democrats, does that mean I cannot participate in the Republican Caucus this year?
No. You are more than welcome to participate in our caucus. Again, you need to be a registered voter and be willing to sign a form that states that you “consider yourself to be a republican” and will not participate in any other parties caucus this year.
- Do I need to register or notify my county party prior to participating?
Nope. As long as you are registered to vote you just need to show up where your precinct is caucusing.
- Is my vote going to be made public?
There are two parts to the caucus. When you sign in, you will be asked to state your presidential preference - this will be considered your vote for the presidential straw poll. This vote will be a public vote in your caucus but it will not be made available to the general public. Then at the caucus you will undertake the important business of electing delegates. This is your vote that actually counts. The Straw poll is just a snapshot of who caucus attendees support, but the ultimate determiner of which candidates wins Washington’s delegates will be the delegates elected at the precincts caucuses.
- What happens after the caucus? How do I know if my candidate has won?
After the caucus, delegates will show up at their county caucuses, where they will elect delegates to the State Convention, finally at the State Convention they will elect delegates to the national convention. The ultimate “winner” of Washington’s delegates will not be determined until the State Convention on May 30th- June2nd. However, the straw poll results will be distributed to the press the day of the March 3rd caucuses. So you will be able to see then who most Washingtonians voted for. These early results are non-binding though.
--Information from the Washington State Republican Party