Park City Democrats want their ballots back after preferred candidates drop out | ParkRecord.com
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Park City Democrats want their ballots back after preferred candidates drop out

The Democratic presidential primary ballot includes candidates who ended their campaigns since the ballots were printed. The Summit County Clerk’s Office says some voters have contacted the office asking for another ballot after they already cast the one that was sent to them in the vote-by-mail election. The county clerk says they cannot receive another ballot once the first one was cast.

Pete Buttigieg ended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination on Sunday. Amy Klobuchar followed him out of the contest on Monday. Tom Steyer also ended his bid for the nomination in recent days.

But by the time the field narrowed for the Super Tuesday voting, numerous Democrats and those who requested a party ballot to vote in the presidential primary had already cast their votes. The Summit County Clerk’s Office sent the ballots in the vote-by-mail election long before the recent departures from the Democratic field. The ballots went out Feb. 11 and voters started receiving them in the mail several days later. That means the candidates who have dropped out still could receive significant support from voters in Park City and surrounding Summit County.

And Kent Jones, the Summit County clerk, said in an interview some voters contacted him Monday morning asking for another ballot after they already cast the one that was sent to them. It was not clear whether the people who contacted him wanted a Democratic or Republican ballot, but it seems likely they wanted a Democratic one in the hours after the field was reduced. There were several inquiries on Monday morning, he said. Jones told them they could not receive another ballot.

“Once you cast your ballot, it’s done. Period. You can’t vote again,” Jones said.

He said there is no difference between someone who mailed their ballot wanting to vote again and a voter who dropped a ballot in a ballot box wanting to retrieve it to revote.

“If somebody drops out. They drop out. There’s nothing we can do about that,” he said about the Democratic departures.

Jones said once the office receives a ballot, a bar code is scanned. The scan gives the voter credit for casting a ballot in that election. The county clerk said the office sent approximately 16,000 ballots to Democrats, Republicans or unaffiliated voters who requested one for the primary. The slight majority of the ballots were Democratic ballots, Jones recently said.

Jones said just less than 6,800 ballots had been returned by midday Monday. The partisan makeup of the ballots that had been returned was not known. The Democratic primary received far more attention than the Republican one, which President Trump was expected to win overwhelmingly.

Democrats appeared to be especially excited about the primary as voters in Utah cast ballots on Super Tuesday, one of the most important dates on the political calendar this year. Democrats in Utah saw the Super Tuesday timing of the primary as giving the state more political clout than in some previous years, when the balloting was scheduled well after a presumptive nominee emerged.

Jones recently said there was the possibility of a large Democratic turnout in the primary as a result of the Super Tuesday scheduling as well as the lack of a clear favorite when the ballots were mailed.

The idea that several voters wanted another ballot after casting one highlights a conundrum of voting through the mail days before the date of an election. Election officials see the vote-by-mail process as convenient and something that could lead to higher turnout. But by mailing a ballot so early, a voter cannot switch from a candidate who ended a campaign or react to a late-breaking development in a campaign.

Please see http://www.parkrecord.com for primary results on Tuesday night.


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