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Senate Oks earlier Washington presidential primary

January 30, 2019
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Sen. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, speaks Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, on the Senate floor in Olympia, Wash., during discussion of a measure to move the state's presidential primary from May to March. The bill passed on a 29-18 vote Wednesday, and now heads to the House for consideration. As they do now, voters must continue to declare a party affiliation when voting in the presidential primary. A floor amendment to allow unaffiliated voters to cast a vote failed. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Senate has passed a measure that would move the state’s presidential primary from May to March.

The bill passed on a 29-18 vote Wednesday, and now heads to the House for consideration.

The measure would move the primary to the second Tuesday in March, and each party would determine which names are placed on the ballot representing the parties.

As they do now, voters must continue to declare a party affiliation when voting in the presidential primary. A floor amendment to allow unaffiliated voters to cast a vote failed.

Washington has both a presidential primary and a caucus system. In 2016, Republicans used the primary to allocated delegates while Democrats opted for the caucus system to divvy up their delegates and ignored the primary results. State Democrats are expected to make a decision in April on which method they’ll use in 2020.

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