With Super Tuesday primary, Utah elevates itself in 2020 presidential nominating process | ParkRecord.com
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With Super Tuesday primary, Utah elevates itself in 2020 presidential nominating process

Utah's primary election is March 3, also known as Super Tuesday.
Tanzi Propst

Important dates

Feb. 11: Ballots mailed out

Feb. 18-21, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.: Early voting at the Summit County Clerk’s Office

Feb. 24-28, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.: Early voting at the Summit County Clerk’s Office

March 2: Deadline for mail-in ballots to be postmarked

March 3: Presidential primary election

Ballot drop box locations

Coalville City Hall, 10 N. Main St., Coalville

County Clerk’s Office, 60 N. Main St., Coalville

Summit County Services Building, 110 N. Main St., Kamas

Park City Municipal Building, 445 Marsac Ave., Park City

The Market at Park City, 1500 Snow Creek Dr., Park City

Sheldon Richins Building, 1885 W. Ute Blvd., Park City

Fresh Market Jeremy Ranch, 3151 Kilby Road, Park City

Voting assistance centers

March 3, 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Coalville City Hall, 10 N. Main St., Coalville

Summit County Services Building, 110 N. Main St., Kamas

Park City Municipal Building, 445 Marsac Ave., Park City

Sheldon Richins Building, 1885 W. Ute Blvd., Park City

Early voting takes place at the County Clerk’s Office on 60 N. Main in Coalville from Feb. 18-21 and Feb. 24-28 from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m.

Source: Summit County Clerk’s Office

Iowa, New Hampshire — Utah?

The 2020 presidential primary election on March 3 marks the first time that Utah has counted itself among the 14 states taking part in Super Tuesday, the largest single day of action in the race and one of the most significant. Unlike 2016’s ill-fated shift to a caucus system to decide which presidential candidates earned Utah’s delegates, this contest is a traditional primary election with Utah’s usual mail-in ballots — no hours-long gatherings in high school gyms, negotiating with neighbors or shadowy smartphone apps are in the mix.

“It’s a regular primary election. … It should feel exactly how a primary election feels in other years,” said Justin Lee, Utah’s director of elections.

The state of Utah will mail out ballots for the Democratic open primary and the Republican closed primary on Tuesday, Feb. 11, the same day of the New Hampshire primary election. Anyone may vote in the Democratic primary, while only registered Republicans can vote in that party’s contest — which does include candidates other than President Trump.

The state Legislature passed a law last year to hold the state’s GOP and Democratic primaries on Super Tuesday, a move officials have touted as giving Utah voters more influence in determining who ultimately wins the parties’ nominations. In the past, Utah voters sometimes made their selections well after a frontrunner had essentially locked up the nomination.

“I’m feeling good about it,” said Meredith Reed, chair of the Summit County Democratic Party, of the state’s move up in the calendar.

Reed said that with a crowded Democratic primary field, voters will benefit from demonstrating some restraint as the New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina primaries play out and the race matures before the deadline for voters to return their mail-in ballots.

“If that’s who you wanted to mark on the ballot, that’s who you marked on the ballot,” she said.

As with typical vote-by-mail elections, primary ballots this year will need to be postmarked by March 2, the day before votes are counted.

Summit County will also host voting assistance centers at various locations throughout the region, as well as in-person voting at the County Clerk’s office in Coalville.

The Democratic candidates will be vying for 35 delegates in total from Utah, 29 of which are determined by the popular vote and six of whom are superdelegates. The power of superdelegates has been somewhat diluted this time around as the at-large delegates, composed of prominent party figures, may only vote after the first round of ballots at the national convention.

Voters in the Democratic primary will decide among Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Michael Bloomberg, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, Deval Patrick, Michael Bennet and several others, including a few candidates who have dropped out of the race but remain on the ballot in Utah. While President Donald Trump is a virtual lock to win the GOP nomination, he faces a handful of challengers in Utah’s GOP primary, including former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, former Congressman Joe Walsh, Bob Ely, Matthew John Matern and Robert Ardini.

The 2020 primary process marks a return to simplicity in state presidential politics after institutional unfamiliarity with the caucusing system and other factors resulted in controversy on March 22, 2016. Long lines and confusion plagued caucuses throughout the state, including in Summit County, where more voters than anticipated showed up to cast votes. Lee, though, said that hiccup was different in nature from the debacle that took place in Iowa on Tuesday. He said Utah’s primary voting system will safeguard the state from issues that have struck the process in the Hawkeye State.

“A lot of it came down to organization on that one,” Lee said of the 2016 Utah caucuses.

Now that Utah is taking its place in the election alongside heavy hitters such as California and Texas, though, Lee said he is looking forward to Utah becoming a bigger part of the national conversation, but not at the expense of a smooth ride.

“There should be some excitement around that, but we’re focused on making sure the election works well.”

Registered voters who are affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican parties will automatically receive a ballot, while residents who are unaffiliated may register with a party and vote at an early voting center or Election Day polling place. People who are not members of the Democratic Party but who would like to vote in the primary may also do so at an early voting center or on Election Day. For more information about the 2020 presidential primary election and for a full list of rules and dates, visit summitcounty.org/281/Voter-Registration-Elections.


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