Primary voting process changes

The voting process in Whitman County will undergo dramatic changes, might create more political divide



Sandy Jamison speaks on how the voting process in Whitman County will be different this year at the Pullman League of Women Voters meeting on Tuesday at Neill Public Library.

Whitman County Auditor Sandy Jamison spoke about how the voting process in Whitman County will be different this year at the Pullman League of Women Voters meeting on Tuesday.

Jamison said Whitman County residents should be aware of the new requirement for the 2020 ballot.

“Voters for the presidential primary are required to declare a party on the outside of the return envelope,” she said. “If you want your vote to count, the political party that you mark on the outside must match the candidate you are voting for.”

Libby Walker, voter service team member, said this is a dramatic change in the history of the state and it could be because the divide between the major political parties is getting wider.

Jamison said this is the first time in Washington history the vote happens in March. 

She said the reasoning for this is because the state legislature passed Engrossed Senate Bill 5273 in 2019, which changed the month from May.

“We are a frequently overlooked state and have just 12 electoral votes,” Jamison said. “They felt that they wanted our state to be more relevant in the whole nominating process.”

She said the auditor’s office receives a lot of questions about what is required when registering to vote. 

The office needs five items to have a complete and successful registration, she said. A person’s legal name, residential address, date of birth, proof of U.S. citizenship, and a signature confirming one lived in Whitman county 30 days prior to the election.

Jamison said people can register to vote at the elections office in Colfax from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  

“We will give you a form to fill out, or walk you through how to register online at,” she said. 

She said the ballots will be sent out Friday and the actual election date is March 10. 

“We will treat these ballots the same as we do all of our other elections,”  she said. “On the day of March 10, we will come out at 8 a.m. and begin tabulating.”

Jamison said there were 24,185 registered voters in Whitman County for the 2019 general election, and only 10,737 actually voted. 

“This means there was a 44 percent voter turnout,” she said.

Bobbie Ryder, Pullman League of Women Voters president, said it is important to know what the national issues are and how they translate to a local level.

The League encourages Whitman County residents to get out and vote and to review the requirements for this presidential primary process.