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Washington's presidential primary more than for show this year

Washington state voters will have more of a say in how delegates are distributed in the presidential primary.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state voters have more of a reason to pay attention to the ballot count for the presidential primary. 

For the first time, the Democratic Party will allocate Washington's delegates using the primary election. The primary for Washington state is March 10. 

Until a bill passed in 2019 to make changes to the primary election, the Democratic Party used caucuses to select delegates. That meant voters were largely ignored, leaving it up to a room full of loyalists. 

Delegates represent their state at their party's national convention. The presidential candidate who receives the majority of the delegates is that party's nomination.

RELATED: Washington Secretary of State skipping presidential primary over privacy concerns

In 2016, Republicans used the May primary to allocate delegates while Democrats opted for the caucus system to divvy up their delegates and ignored the primary results. President Donald Trump won the state primary, but was the only Republican candidate remaining at the time. Hillary Clinton won the state primary, but lost the Democratic party caucuses that were held earlier in the year.

Washington state will be one of five voting on March 10. The others include Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, and Missouri.  

Unless it's a blowout early on in the primary process, Washington's new rules will give the state more weight in who will become the Democratic nominee. 

RELATED: Voters must check 'Democrat' or 'Republican' on Washington Primary ballot

Thirteen Democratic candidates appeared on the ballot for the 2020 race, though many have already dropped out. Incumbent Donald Trump is the only Republican who qualified for the ballot. 

No stamp is required to mail in your ballot, but it must be postmarked by Tuesday, March 10. Drop boxes will close that day at 8 p.m.  

Ballots must include a valid signature to count, and voters must declare their preference for the Democratic or Republican parties in this election.

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