Gov. Inslee signs bill moving presidential primary to March

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who is among a growing group of Democratic presidential contenders, has signed a measure moving the state’s presidential primary from May to March.

Inslee signed the bill Thursday, saying that it strengthens the state’s role in the national process.

The measure cleared the Legislature days after Inslee announced his presidential campaign. Next year’s presidential primary will now move to the second Tuesday in March, and each party, instead of the secretary of state, will determine which names are placed on the ballot representing the parties.

Washington has no party registration, but since 2008, the primary requires voters to attest to being either Republican or Democrat. That gives the state parties important information for their voter lists. Residents’ party choices are public record, while their votes remain private. That practice will continue. Floor amendments to allow for voters to choose an unaffiliated ballot failed in both the Senate and House.