Invitation to Presidential Primary Precinct Caucuses on March 26, 2016

February 10, 2016 by islandersvoice1


The following invitation provides details about the process to be followed by the San Juan County Democrats and the Washington State Democrats to elect a total of 119 delegates and 7 alternates to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 25-28. Those of you who have participated in the process before may want to skim over it, as it has been written primarily for the numerous interested voters, many first-time, who have asked us detailed questions over the last several weeks. But even if you have participated before, we encourage you to do more than skim in case there are new elements to the plan that were not present in 2008 and 2012.

To: 1) All registered voters of San Juan County; 2) All other residents of our county age 18 or older who are not registered to vote elsewhere and who sign a San Juan County voter registration form before or at the precinct caucuses; and 3) All other residents of our county age 17 who will become 18 before or on November 8, 2016.

You are encouraged to begin the process of nominating Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders to be our next president by attending and voting at one of the San Juan County Democratic Presidential Primary Precinct Caucuses to be held at 10:00 am on Saturday, March 26, 2016.

Our Precinct Caucuses and those of other counties in our state are the start of the three-tier process to select 67 Congressional District-Level Delegates from our state to the Democratic National Convention on July 25-28 in Philadelphia where the official Democratic presidential and vice presidential candidates will be selected. Of the 67, seven will be selected from the 2nd Congressional District in which we live based upon the process described below.

The three-tier process consists of the Precinct Caucuses on March 26, the San Juan County Convention on May 1, and the 2nd Congressional District Caucus on May 21. Anyone can attend all three, but only delegates or alternates elected at the previous tier can vote at the County Convention and at the 2nd Congressional District Caucus.

The entire Washington State delegation to the National Convention consists of 119 delegates and 7 alternates selected as described below. The 119 delegates include the 67 Congressional District-Level Delegates plus 52 other delegates and 7 alternates chosen at the State Convention.

San Juan County Presidential Primary Precinct Caucuses

The locations of the Precinct Caucuses at 10:00 am on Saturday, March 26 are: San Juan Island (Friday Harbor High School), Orcas Island (Orcas Island Public School in Eastsound), Lopez Island (Lopez Island Public School), and Waldron Island (Waldron School). Other locations on other islands may be announced at a later date.

The primary business of the Precinct Caucuses is the election of delegates to the San Juan County Convention on May 1. At the Precinct Caucuses, each of the county’s 19 precincts will meet in separate caucuses to elect between 1 and 10 delegates each to our County Convention, plus alternates, for a total of approximately 105 delegates. (We will publish soon the exact numbers for each precinct.) The number of delegates elected in each Precinct Caucus will be divided between the two candidates in proportion to the number of votes each of them receives in each caucus.

Before voting to elect delegates, attendees at each Precinct Caucus will have the opportunity to speak in favor of their preferred presidential candidate. The party welcomes the active discussion of the pros and cons of each candidate and their announced policies.

To be eligible to vote at your Precinct Caucus, you will need to register as you enter, including a declaration that you are registered to vote in our county and consider yourself to be a Democrat. However, if you are not yet registered to vote, including because you are 17 years of age, you can still vote at the caucuses by signing a voter registration form at the event provided you are not registered to vote elsewhere and you will be at least 18 years old on November 8, 2016.

Attendees will also have the ability to register online prior to March 26. We will publicize the link to this registration site as soon as it becomes available.

You can determine which precinct you live in by accessing the precinct maps at:

You can also call the county’s elections office at 378-3357. We will also be able to make this determination for you when you enter the caucus.

Those who cannot attend their Precinct Caucus can sign a surrogate affidavit by March 18 granting their vote to another person. A link to this affidavit form will be provided shortly on this website. You can only use the form if you will be absent for certain specified reasons, such as work schedule, military service, illness, disability, or religious observance. Unfortunately, absence on trips and vacations, or to attend school, do not qualify for use of the affidavit form.

Although there will be no formal action taken on resolutions at the precinct caucuses, attendees may present resolutions pertaining to political matters for discussion and forwarding on to the Chair of the San Juan County Democrats for consideration at the County Convention on May 1.

No 40th Legislative District Caucus

Unlike other counties in our state, San Juan County Democrats do not participate in the caucus of the 40th Legislative District of which it is a member.

San Juan County Convention

The primary business of the San Juan County Convention on May 1 in Friday Harbor (location to be announced) is the election of a yet-to-be determined number of delegates and alternates to both the 2nd Congressional District Caucus on May 21 and to the State Convention on June 18-19.

The County Convention will also include discussion and adoption of resolutions and modifications to the platform of the San Juan County Democrats. Resolutions will be forwarded to the State Democrats for consideration at the State Convention on June 18-19.

Anyone can attend the County Convention. However, only delegates or their alternates elected at the Precinct Caucuses are eligible to vote.

2nd Congressional District Caucus

The primary business of the 2nd CD Caucus on May 21, at a location to be announced, is the election of 7 delegates (4 men, 3 women) to the Democratic National Convention on July 25-28. (There is no election of alternates.) These 7 delegates will join others from Washington State’s nine other congressional districts for a total of 67 Congressional District-Level Delegates to the National Convention.

There is no discussion of resolutions or the platform.

Anyone can attend the 2nd CD Caucus. However, only delegates or their alternates elected at the County Convention are eligible to vote.

To be considered for election to the National Convention at the 2nd CD Caucus, delegates must file a Statement of Candidacy with the State Democrats by May 6 specifying the presidential candidate to which they are pledged. Representatives of each presidential candidate then have six days to review each delegate’s filing for their respective candidate, with the right to reject any applicant for any reason.

Washington State Convention

June 18-19 in Tacoma. Delegates (1,400 plus 700 alternates) include those elected at the state’s County Conventions, plus local and state party officials and elected officials such as all Democratic members of our Congressional delegation, big city mayors, state-wide elected officials, and state legislators.

The business of the State Convention includes: 1) Selection by a sub-committee of 52 additional delegates to the National Convention, consisting of 22 At-Large Delegates (see below), 12 Pledged Party Leader and Elected Official Delegates, and 18 Unpledged Party Leader and Elected Official Delegates, with the latter automatically selected by virtue of holding specified party or public offices; 2) Election of our state’s representatives on the Electoral College; 3) Adoption of the platform of the State Democrats; 4) Endorsement of nominees for partisan office; and 5) Various workshops.

Alternative Route to National Convention

In addition to the three-tier process described above for the election of Congressional District-Level Delegates directly to the National Convention, registered voters of San Juan County can also run for election to one of the 22 At-Large Delegate or 7 At-Large Alternate positions for the entire state by filing a Statement of Candidacy with the State Democrats by June 10. Those who file by this date will be considered for election at the State Convention on June 18-19.

At-Large Delegate candidates do not need to attend any of the three meetings described above. However, they must attend and speak at the State Convention before the vote is taken. Individuals considering this route need to be aware that the selection of At-Large Delegates and Alternates is used by the State Democrats to assure compliance with its stated diversity plan.

Washington State Presidential Primary

By law, the State of Washington requires political parties to participate in a state-wide presidential primary election on May 24. However, the law does not require the parties to use the results of the primary in any specific manner. In fact, they may ignore the results, which is what the Washington State Democratic Party has decided to do. Instead it will rely exclusively on the results of the caucus and convention process described above.

Democratic National Convention

July 25-28 in Philadelphia. Details will be provided at a later date as needed or requested.

Why do the Washington State Democrats use a caucus system rather than a primary system to allot delegates?

The following answer has been provided by the State Democrats:

“The Washington State Democrats have a long history of allocating delegates using precinct caucuses. The Washington State Democrats believe that caucuses – meetings where voters sit down with their neighbors and discuss the various candidates prior to casting their votes – encourage greater participation and involvement than simply casting a ballot from one’s home. In addition, by holding caucuses on March 26th, Washington was able to join into a “regional cluster” with Hawaii and Alaska, which grants a 15% bonus to our total number of delegates.”

Please encourage your family and friends who are Democrats to attend the March 26 precinct caucuses.

You can email any questions to Or call 378-1082.

We look forward to your participation in the March 26 presidential primary precinct caucuses to help elect our next president.

David Dehlendorf, Chair, San Juan County Democrats

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