Ballot for Super Tuesday presidential primary in mail, lists host of candidates
By Suzanne Dean
MANTI— Nearly 9,000 ballots have gone out to Sanpete County voters for the Super Tuesday presidential primary March 3.
Sandy Neill, county clerk, said the ballots went in the mail Tuesday, which means voters should receive the ballots this week.
Your vote will help select delegates, who will attend the national Republican or national Democratic convention, and at least on the first ballot, will vote the preferences expressed by voters in Utah.
The presidential primary has some complexities not found in other elections, Neill said. The biggest potential difficulty is that ballots had to be printed while the fields of candidates were still in flux.
There are seven candidates on the Republican ballot and 16 on the Democratic ballot. But some of those candidates have let the Utah Elections Office know they want to withdraw, which means no ballots for those candidates will be counted.
In other cases, candidates have not officially withdrawn but have suspended their campaigns. An example is Sen. Corey Booker of New Jersey, who is listed as a Democratic candidate but has suspended his campaign. Other candidates may suspend after the South Carolina primary and Nevada caucuses.
The county clerk will tabulate votes for such candidates, but the votes won’t mean much because the candidates aren’t seeking the Democratic nomination any more.
“Use your best judgment and do your research” before making choices, Neill advises. One source of information is the vote.utah.gov website. On the home page, click the link for “Learn about candidates and issues.”
(Note that the chart accompanying this article only lists candidates who are still running. Names of candidates who have withdrawn or suspended their campaigns are not on the Messenger list, even though many of their names have already been printed on the ballots that went out this week.)
Another complication in is rules about who can vote in what party primary.
To vote in the Republican primary, you must be listed as a Republican on the county voting rolls. If you’ve been a Republican for a long time, no problem. You automatically received a Republican ballot. If you’re a Democrat and want to change your registration to Republican, too late. The last day to change affiliation was Feb. 3
And of course the same rules apply to longstanding Democrats (they automatically got a Democratic ballot) or to any Republicans who now want to register as Democrats (it’s too to change parties).
However, if you’re one of more than 3,000 unaffiliated voters in Sanpete County, your options are still open. You can go into the clerk’s office at the county courthouse in Manti and register as a Republican, register as a Democrat, or remain unaffiliated but let the clerk know you want to vote in the Democratic primary. You can receive a ballot at time of visit.
And if you’re a Republican and received a Republican ballot, but want to vote in the Democratic primary, you can take your ballot to the clerk’s office and exchange it for a Democratic ballot.
What you can’t do is remain unaffiliated and vote Republican. The Utah Republican Party only permits registered Republicans to participate in its primary.
In contrast, the Democrats permit anybody to vote in their contest, including registered Democrats, unaffiliated voters and Republicans.
If you’re unaffiliated, did not receive a mailed ballot, but want to help choose the president, it would be best to go into the clerk’s office between Feb. 18 and Feb. 28. Feb 28 is the last day to receive a ballot and participate in early voting.
You can still affiliate and vote at the clerk’s office after Feb. 28. In fact, in Utah, you can register, affiliate and receive a ballot right on up to the Election Day, March 3, at 8 p.m.
But after Feb. 28, you’ll receive a provisional ballot, which may or may not count depending on whether the clerk is able to verify, first, that you are a county resident and second, that you didn’t try to change your affiliation after the Feb. 3 deadline.
If you’re not registered to vote at all but want to participate in selecting presidential nominees, the best thing to do is take your government-issued ID and proof of your address to the clerk’s office. Or you can register online at vote.utah.gov.
If you don’t receive a ballot by the end of this week and believe you should get one, or if you have any other questions about the presidential primary, call the main county number, 835-2131, and push option 5 to reach the clerk’s office.