Election agencies challenged more than 80,000 ballots in the Washington State Presidential primary last week. Of those, 20,000 come from residents in King County, home to the largest percentage of voters who selected “Uncommitted Delegates” in the Democratic primary in protest of President Joe Biden’s support for Israel’s ongoing genocide of Palestinians.

Supporters of the movement to vote “uncommitted” believe that “curing” those challenged ballots could lead to Washington sending uncommitted delegates to the Democratic National Convention and may even be enough to make us one of the least-committed states in the country. Voters have until 4:30 pm on Thursday, March 21 to fix their ballots online or return (not just postmark) their resolution form to get their vote counted before certification on Friday.

Election departments reject ballots for all kinds of reasons. This election, King County challenged almost 17,000 ballots because the voter failed to select their party affiliation on the ballot envelope as required by state law. Those party affiliation challenges amounted to 82% of all challenged ballots. The County challenged another 2,000 because the voter's signature did not match the one on file and another 800 because the voter did not sign the ballot at all. 

King County Elections (KCE) spokesperson Halei Watkins said that KCE contacts voters with challenged ballots via mail. If a voter provided their phone number or email address on their ballot, then KCE also pings them that way. Voters should track their ballot online and sign up for alerts to learn of any ballot issues as soon as possible. 

To fix a challenged ballot, Watkins said to use the online signature resolution tool. I know it says “signature resolution tool,” but voters can also use it to fix their party affiliation issues. If they prefer, voters can also mail in their resolution form or take a clear photo of it and then email the form to voter.services@kingcounty.gov.

Rami Al-Kabra, the Deputy Mayor of Bothell and an organizer for the grassroots Uncommitted Washington campaign, worried that many of the challenged ballots could belong to Muslim immigrant communities. Al-Kabra said their campaign plans to chase these uncured ballots the same way they earned votes in the first place by spreading information about the challenges online, making phone calls, and sending texts. 

Those tactics proved quite effective the first time. Al-Kabra said the campaign set a goal of earning 12,000 votes, which would have amounted to double the number of votes for uncommitted delegates in the last presidential election. According to the Secretary of State, more than 86,000 people, or 9.75% of Democratic voters, picked uncommitted delegates as of the latest update to the count last Friday. That means more than 13 times as many Washingtonians voted uncommitted in 2024 than in 2020. Uncommitted delegates garnered more support in Washington this year than Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, and Pete Buttigieg in 2020. And those candidates spent a lot more time and money than the campaign for uncommitted delegates did, though all those candidates (except Gabbard) had dropped out of the race before the election period. 

Al-Kabra said that the campaign feels “optimistic” that the Washington Democrats will have to send an uncommitted delegate to the Democratic National Convention in August. 

The party allocates both statewide delegates and Congressional District-based delegates. According to Washington State Democrats Communication Manager Stephen Reed, the party very likely won’t allocate any statewide uncommitted delegates, but the campaign may yet earn the 15% necessary to scoop up delegates in the 7th Congressional District, which encompasses most of Seattle and Burien, and all of Vashon Island, Lake Forest Park, Shoreline, and Normandy Park. (Uncommitted currently has 13.5% of the vote share in King County.) In that case, the party would send two uncommitted delegates to the convention. Reed said that the party will know for sure by March 25.

If Washington sends two uncommitted delegates, then they would join two such delegates from Michigan, seven from Hawaii, and 11 from Minnesota. With 2,107 delegates so far, Biden has already surpassed the 1,968-delegate threshold needed to secure the nomination, but the movement to vote uncommitted serves a deeper purpose than unseating Biden. The tactic is just one of many in a movement to end the genocide in Gaza.