Statement from Rep. Norma Smith on the passage of Senate Bill 5273, relating to the presidential primary

Earlier this week, the Washington State House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 5273. The bill would move Washington’s presidential primary from May to March, but would also maintain a system that requires voters to declare a party affiliation in order to participate.

Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, issued the following statement:

“While I am in favor of moving Washington’s presidential primary from May to March, this bill would continue the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians who prefer not to declare an affiliation with either major party.

“These individuals don’t want to simply fall in line and check a box in order to participate. They want to remain independent and still have their voices heard. I stand with them, as do my colleagues in the House Republican Caucus. We introduced our own bill and an amendment to Senate Bill 5273 that would have ensured voters could remain unaffiliated and still participate in the primary. Unfortunately, our efforts were defeated.

“Unless the governor vetoes this bill and we reform the system, the only way unaffiliated voters will be able to have a say in the outcome is if they sacrifice their principles and declare their allegiance to one party or the other. Additionally, because the parties are allowed to keep the data they collect from primary voters, independents who are forced to pick a side in order to participate will likely be added to Democrat or Republican voter lists. That’s wrong.

“We had an opportunity to fix this flawed system and declare that regardless of the rules and processes implemented by national party committees, all Washington voters have the right to participate in a primary they’re funding with their tax dollars. Instead, the large-scale disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians is set to continue.

“I hope all Washingtonians will make their voices heard on this critical issue.”


Washington State House Republican Communications