Attend WA GOP Caucuses on March 3rd
If you want to have a say in who the Republican nominee for President will be, and you are a registered voter citizen in the state of Washington, and you are not participating in the process to select the Democratic nominee, you are eligible to go to the precinct caucuses on March 3, 2012, and vote for a delegate to the county convention.
For a couple of decades or so, the Washington State Republican Party has used a mixture of convention delegate votes, and the statewide "presidential preference primary" vote, to determine delegate allocation to the national convention. But this year, to save money, the state has canceled the primary, so there will only be the caucus/convention process. If you want a say, you have to be involved.
Now, realize, the caucuses do not select who the state party's choice for candidate is. The news will report who "won," but it's a fiction. The winner will not actually be determined until the state convention. The caucuses pick delegates to the county conventions, the county conventions pick delegates to the state convention, the state convention picks delegates to the national convention.
You do not vote at the caucus for a presidential candidate, you vote for a delegate to the convention. It's like how you don't vote for Speaker of the House, you vote for a Representative who votes for Speaker of the House. But how you make your decision of which delegate to vote for can be based on any reasons you choose, just like some people vote for Congress based on whether the candidate will support Pelosi or Boehner for Speaker.
If you want to vote for someone because he is a good businessman, or tireless activist, or smart engineer, or local politician, or simply because they agree with you on the issues, you can do so. You can even vote for a delegate based on which presidential candidate they support, but that rarely happens, in my experience. Caucus-goers seem to care more about the delegates they select than the candidates those delegates support. That's not always the case, though, and this year may be different.
And here's the thing: the same thing happens at the county level. In theory, you could have 40 percent of the delegates elected at the precinct caucuses be for Mitt Romney, and 20 percent each for Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. But then that combined 60 percent goes to the county convention, and congeals around electing delegates who support Santorum, in order to prevent Romney from winning. So maybe 80 percent of the delegates to the state convention are for Santorum, and only 20 percent for Romney, even though Romney "won" the caucuses by a large plurality.
And then at state, maybe Santorum will drop out, and those delegates will end up switching to vote for pro-Gingrich delegates to national. We could have three different "winners," one at each level of the process.
All this to say a few things: if you want to participate in the process of selecting the GOP nominee, this is how you do it; you vote for delegates any way you want to, not necessarily by the candidate they support; the "winner" of the caucuses may not reflect who actually wins Washington's delegates.
Now, where is your caucus? I don't know. If you live in Snohomish County, go to the Sno Co GOP Caucus page and enter your legislative district and precinct. If you're from another county, check with your county party for more information.
And if you're a Democrat, go play ball that day, or something. It's not like you don't know who your candidate is going to be. But if you really want to participate, ask your county party. The procedures are not the same, so ignore most of what I said, except the part about this being your only way to participate. (And with the Democrats, that's not unique to this primary-less year: the Democrats have never used the presidential preference primary to determine delegate allocation. Literally, the primary vote for Democratic presidential candidates in Washington has always been meaningless. You have to go to the caucuses to have a say.)