Washington State Democratic Caucuses: What You Need To Know

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — There are 118 Democratic delegates at stake in Washington, with 101 to be awarded proportionally based on the results of Saturday’s caucuses — with 67 allocated based on caucus results in each of the state’s 10 congressional districts, and the other 34 will be proportionally allocated based on congressional district results. The remaining 17 are technically unpledged party and elected leaders, though a majority of them — including Gov. Jay Inslee and the state’s Congressional delegation — have already said they support frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

HOW THE DELEGATES ARE ALLOCATED: 27,170 delegates will be elected Saturday to move on to the county and legislative district caucuses. Because Washington state has a proportional allocation system, a portion will support Clinton and a portion will support Sanders. The legislative district caucuses will be held April 17, and the county conventions will be held May 1. At that point, that 27,162 number will be whittled down to 1,400, likely reflecting the same proportional support of the larger overall number. Those 1,400 delegates will go to the congressional district caucuses. On May 21, at the congressional district caucuses, 67 delegates will be chosen to go to the Democratic National Convention, very likely representing the same ratio of Sanders-Clinton supporters as on the March 26 caucuses. At the state convention June 17-19, 34 additional delegates (pledged party leaders and elected officials, and at large delegates and alternates), will be chosen and bound based on the ratio of support determined at the May 21 congressional district caucuses.

HOW DOES THE CAUCUS WORK? Any registered voter can attend, but they must publicly attest that they are a member of the Democratic Party. There are about 7,000 precincts statewide, and each location — ranging from schools to churches to community centers — will have anywhere from five to 20 precincts at their site, according to state Democratic Party spokesman Jamal Raad. Caucuses start at 10 a.m. and usually take no longer than two hours. After the precincts gather and a captain is selected, the first tally of support is counted and announced. Caucus goers are then able to try and convince undecided voters or to sway others to their candidate of choice before a second tally is counted. The results of that second tally are used to allot delegates to each candidate, and each group of caucus goers choose the delegates to move on to the county and legislative district caucuses. There is also discussion of resolutions for the state party convention in June. Results from the caucuses are expected sometime Saturday afternoon.

WHAT DO REPUBLICANS DO? Unlike Democrats, who are allocating all of their delegates from the caucuses, Republicans are using the statewide presidential primary on May 24 to allocate all of theirs. Voters will have the option of voting for the Democratic candidates in that May 24 election, but their vote won’t count for anything other than a statewide straw poll. There will be 44 Republican delegates at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer, 30 of whom will be allocated proportionally based on the results of the 10 congressional districts, and 14 to be awarded proportionally based on the results of the 24 statewide vote.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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