All but three Democratic candidates dropped out of the race before the election deadline, but the total vote spread between them and President Trump was narrow.
Mail-in voting for Washington state’s presidential primary election concluded March 10 and, with approximately 3,400 ballots left to count in Pierce County out of nearly 229,000 by press time, former Vice President Joe Biden had the most in the Democratic race at 37.7 percent compared to Sen. Bernie Sanders, who came in at 35.65 percent.
President Trump, running unopposed, garnered 98.38 percent of the Republican vote.
Washington voters had to check a party box on the presidential primary ballot and vote for that party. Approximately 985,000 voters cast a Democratic ballot and 550,000 voted Republican, but at least 60,000 voters declined to check either party box, invalidating their ballots.
Both Biden and Sanders each earned 37 delegates for the Democratic national convention, to be held in Milwaukee July 13 through 16. In prior elections, Washington Democrats used the caucus system to allocate delegates.
A candidate must get 15 percent of the vote in a congressional district to win delegates. Fifty-eight delegates will be allotted this way. Thirty-one will be allotted statewide with the same 15 percent rule. Delegates will be chosen at party caucuses later this spring.
Washington will have a Top 2 primary Aug. 4 to determine who or what will be on the Nov. 3 ballot for partisan offices and initiatives, but it does not apply to the presidential election.
The voter turnout in Pierce County was 43.46 percent of eligible voters, a substantial increase over the 2016 county turnout of 31.16 percent. Turnout for the general election in Nov. 2019 was 45.19 percent.
President Trump received more votes than any individual Democrat in every precinct on the Key Peninsula, but more people on the KP voted Democratic in the primary.
More than twice as many Democrats voted in Pierce County than Republicans (147,338 compared to 78,091 at press time). Assuming the same ratio for the KP, President Trump loses the KP in its entirety when counting total votes for the top five Democrats — 3,504 to 2,427 — but not by the same 2-to-1 margin of voters.
As in past elections, it is certain that many more members of all parties will turn out for the general presidential election in November.
To identify precincts on the Key Peninsula, go to Pierce County’s map of Legislative District 26 at www.co.pierce.wa.us/DocumentCenter.