Washington GOP Caucuses

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The Washington GOP precinct caucuses are coming up on February 9th, four days after "Super Duper Tuesday." If the GOP nomination is still up for grabs after February 5th, Washington becomes very important.

However, it is even more complicated here than in Iowa.

In Iowa, the Democrats select delegates by precinct based on which candidate they support. The Republicans just straight-up vote for their candidates.

But in Washington -- speaking for the Republicans, not sure about the Democrats -- we elect delegates as individuals. We can consider their presidential preference if we want to (the rules state that each delegate nominee shall state their preference, or declare themselves uncommitted), but we still elect the delegate, and the candidate preference is not binding.

Further, this only determines who goes to the county convention. Even if 1/4 of the precincts send all Ron Paul delegates, those delegates then have to get elected at the county convention to get to state, and it is theoretically conceivable that none of them would go. Same thing at the state level, to be a national delegate.

And to top it all off, this only accounts for half of Washington's national delegates to the Republican convention; the other half are determined by the statewide primary on February 19.

The Democratic part of that primary, however, does not count for anything. At all. It's a big waste of taxpayer money and time. The Democratic delegates are selected entirely by caucus/convention.

Washington state law requires a Presidential primary be held, but -- because it would be an unconstitutional infringement on the right to association -- does not require that it actually have any meaning. Indeed, it states right in the law (not that such permission is needed, as it is a First Amendment right) that a party may base its allocation of delegates based in whole or in part on the party's caucus and convention process.

And, of course, the Democrats have chosen to do that in whole, and the Republicans to do that in part.

So there's a state law that says "we must have a presidential primary, even if it is not used for anything." Kinda silly. And it also makes the primary results very unpredictable, since many Democrats, knowing the Democratic primary is meaningless, may vote in the Republican primary instead (as is happening in Florida right now, for different reasons, but the same result: the Democratic primary means nothing, and the Republican primary counts for only half).

There is an oath you must sign to vote in the primary, however, and someone who is a Democrat, or who has participated in the Democratic caucus in 2008, cannot vote in the Republican primary unless they lie on their oath.

Complicated. slashdot.org

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