Independents to Gov. Inslee: Veto Bill Requiring Party Affiliation to Vote in 2020 Prez Primary

Independent voters in Washington state responded strongly to a bill sent from the legislature to Gov. Jay Inslee requiring voters to affiliate with a political party in order to participate in the state’s 2020 Presidential primary.

Their letter reads:



March 12, 2019

VIA FACSIMILIE: 360-753-4110

Governor Jay Inslee
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002

Dear Governor Inslee,

We the undersigned are independent voters. We urge you to veto SB 5273 concerning the presidential primary.

While the bill seeks to make Washington’s presidential primary more impactful, it would force independent voters to align with a political party in order to participate in the election. This is unacceptable. Since the presidential primaries are taxpayer-funded elections, all voters, regardless of affiliation, should be allowed to participate.

Voters in Washington have a long history of refusing to affiliate with a political party and have not registered by political party since the early 20th century. Preventing independents from voting unless they publicly declare an affiliation will negatively affect voter turnout. Nearly 40% of voters in Washington’s 2000 open presidential primary were unaffiliated.

The election of the next President of the United States is the most important exercise of democracy in our nation. In 2016, over 25 million independents across our country were barred from voting in presidential primaries.

This is a moment for Washington to continue to lead the way as it has done in the past in creating open, inclusive, nonpartisan elections. Our state should ensure that the presidential primary is fully democratic.

You owe it to the Washington voters to veto this bill and send it back to the legislature. They can do better.


David J. Anderson, Friday Harbor, WA                                                                      C.V. Compton Shaw, Seattle, WA
Ned Witting, Puyallup, WA                                                                                           Janice Lyle, Marysville, WA
Elizabeth Sadewasser, Camas, WA                                                                             Jackie Horton, Silverdale, WA
Teri Raymond, Orient, WA

Cathy L. Stewart, New York, NY
Vice President for National Development, Independent Voting