Record editorial: For once, Utahns will have a say in choosing presidential nominee
To this year’s presidential contenders, our state is no afterthought.
For the first time ever, Utah will be one of 14 states casting presidential primary ballots on Super Tuesday in what will be one of the most important days in determining who ultimately wins the Democratic nomination.
That’s a contrast to past presidential election years, when Utah’s primaries (and an ill-fated attempt at caucusing) were often held well after frontrunners had all but locked up nominations. In 2016, for instance, Utahns overwhelmingly backed Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz, but Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were already well on their way to securing their spots at the top of the November ballot.
This time around, Trump has no serious challengers in the GOP primary and will cruise to the nomination. But Utahns’ votes will help decide the heavily contested Democratic contest.
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If Utah, for instance, once again backs Sanders, the current frontrunner, the 29 pledged delegates up for grabs could help propel him to an insurmountable lead. Meanwhile, a resounding victory for a different candidate like Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden or Michael Bloomberg could be part of a Super Tuesday wave that puts them in control of the race.
Regardless of the result, Utah having a say in the outcome of the nominating process is certainly what state lawmakers were going for when they passed a law last year moving the presidential primaries to Super Tuesday.
For voters, it’s not a responsibility to be taken lightly. Democrats — and unaffiliated voters, who may cast ballots in the Democratic primary — should treat the opportunity to help select a nominee with the weight it deserves, comparing the candidates on their records and platforms and selecting the person best fit to carry the top of the ticket in the fall and, perhaps, be the president of the United States.
And given the stakes, hopefully turnout will be large. Utah matters this time, so let’s make sure we act like it.
Only registered Republicans can vote in the closed GOP primary, while any registered voter can cast a ballot in the Democratic election. Mail-in ballots have been sent to voters in Summit County who are affiliated with a political party, while early voting will be held at various locations in the county through Feb. 28. Information about registering to vote or voting in the Democratic primary without being a member of the party is available at the Summit County clerk’s website, summitcounty.org/270/Clerk.
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