GOP primary: Republicans only |

GOP primary: Republicans only

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Registered voters who plan to vote in Tuesday’s Western States Primary should know only registered Republicans can vote in the GOP presidential race.

Unaffiliated voters who wish to vote in the Republican primary are required to fill out paperwork to affiliate with that party before receiving a ballot.

Requiring voters to register Republican is not new, Utah Republican Chairman Stan Lockhart said.

It’s been that way for years, he added.

John McCain and Mitt Romney are trying to take command of the antagonistic Republican primary race, and the size of Tuesday’s delegate haul could make that possible. Of the 1,191 national convention delegates needed to secure the GOP nomination, about 1,023 are up for grabs in 21 contests Feb. 5.

Thirty-six of those delegates will participate in the winner-take-all primary in Utah, according to state GOP officials.

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But because Romney is poised to win the Republican presidential primary in the state, Todd Taylor, executive director for the Utah Democratic Party, urges unaffiliated voters to consider casting ballots in the Democratic contest, with Barack Obama facing Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The Democratic election is open to all registered voters who haven’t declared a party affiliation. But the deadline to register to vote has passed.

Voters who show no party affiliation will be asked in which party primary they would like to participate. Those who choose Democratic will be given a ballot, Taylor said.

Democrats do not force unaffiliated voters to register as Democrats because "our party in Utah has been almost fanatically involved in making sure the process stays open," Taylor said in a telephone interview Friday.

With 29 Democratic delegates in play in Utah, 23 will be pledged based upon the outcome of Super Tuesday, he explained.

"In order for a candidate to receive at least some delegates they have to get at least 15 percent in one of the congressional districts," Taylor said.

The GOP primary lacks action in Utah because Romney will win "hands down," he said.

"We are very much encouraging unaffiliated voters to vote in the Democratic primary because this is where your vote will count," Taylor said, adding that "because of the fewer number of people who show up, your vote counts for all those people who don’t show up too. The nomination phase is really the place where you can have the biggest impact on any race."

The Democratic candidate needs about 2,025 delegates to secure the nomination, according to the Democratic National Committee.

The delegates are awarded proportionally, Taylor said.

Taylor, who claimed that about 17 percent of voters in Utah are Democrats, expects about 100,000 people to vote in Tuesday’s primary.

There will be 14 polling locations in Summit County Tuesday, County Clerk Kent Jones said.

For more information, call Jones. From the West Side his number is 615-3203. From North Summit, the number is 336-3203. People in South Summit can call 783-4451, extension 3203. Additional information is available on the County Clerk’s section of Summit County’s Web site,

Super Tuesday’s big prizes: Republican primary California 170 delegates, New York 101 delegates, Georgia 72 delegates, Missouri 58 delegates, Illinois 57 delegates, New Jersey 52 delegates

Source: Associated Press

Democratic primary California 370 delegates, New York 232 delegates, Texas 193 delegates, Pennsylvania 158 delegates, Illinois 153 delegates, Ohio 141 delegates

Source: Democratic National Committee

The Associated Press contributed to this report.