Presidential primary ballot printing to move ahead after court ruling

OLYMPIA — In accordance with Thursday morning’s ruling by Thurston County Superior Court Judge Mary Sue Wilson, printing of ballots and voters’ pamphlets for the March 12 Presidential Primary will move forward with the candidate lists submitted by both political parties. 

“An order directing the secretary of state to take different action, an order from this court, is simply not supported by the statutes and not supported by the affidavit of the electors,” Judge Wilson said in her ruling.

As directed by state law RCW 29A.56, Secretary of State Steve Hobbs provided the full candidate lists submitted by both political parties for the Presidential Primary to county auditors on Jan. 9. The Democratic Party had submitted three candidate names: Joseph R. Biden Jr., Dean Phillips, and Marianne Williamson. The Republican Party had submitted five candidate names for the Presidential Primary: Donald J. Trump, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Chris Christie.

On Thursday, Judge Wilson dismissed a challenge to the ballot listing of former president Trump as a candidate, which followed a dismissal by a Kitsap County court Tuesday.

In the Thurston County case, Judge Wilson found that “the Secretary of State acted consistent with his duties” in proceeding with the candidate lists that parties submitted.

“I am grateful that Judge Wilson ruled in such a timely and well-considered fashion, and that she recognized that I and my staff have been working in full compliance with state law governing the Presidential Primary,” Secretary Hobbs said. “We will continue working with our partners in county elections offices to get all the necessary materials for this election to every Washington voter.”

Unlike in other Washington elections, state law requires Presidential Primary voters to sign a party declaration on their ballot envelopes to have their votes counted.

Washington’s Office of the Secretary of State oversees a number of areas within state government, including managing state elections, registering corporations and charities, and governing the use of the state flag and state seal. The office also manages the State Archives and the State Library, documents extraordinary stories in Washington’s history through Legacy Washington, oversees the Combined Fund Drive for charitable giving by state employees, and administers the state’s Address Confidentiality Program to help protect survivors of crime.