Utah Prepares For Super Tuesday As Democratic Field Narrows

Mar 2, 2020, 10:39 PM | Updated: 11:22 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In the final hours leading into Utah’s first Super Tuesday vote, a steady stream of early voters tried to stay ahead of the race while others who already mailed in their vote wondered what it would mean after their candidate dropped out.

“I’ve never voted before. I’m so nervous,” said Lex Buchanan, who cast her first vote after she recently moved to the state. The presidential primary was enough to get her to the polls for the first time.

“The fact that I haven’t voted before, and I feel so much pressure and I’m like I got to do it. This is the time,” she said.

But early voting wrapped up with a disappointing turnout on Monday in Salt Lake County, according to County Clerk Sherrie Swensen.

“I think a lot of people are waiting to see what candidates were going to do and rightfully so,” she said.

In the two days leading up to Super Tuesday, Tom Steyer, Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar added their names to the list of dropouts. However, their names are still on the ballot, along with several others who left the race weeks ago.

“None of them have officially withdrawn,” Swensen said. “They’ve publicly announced the end of their campaigns, but their votes will still be tabulated because they haven’t officially withdrawn.”

“It did help me make my decision today,” said Jon Hansen, who is an unaffiliated voter but tends to vote as a Democrat. “I made my decision on my way here.”

Swensen said her office has received calls and emails from disappointed voters who wanted to change their vote after their candidate dropped out. However, there’s nothing they can legally do.

“There’s nothing we can do to allow for them to vote again,” Swensen said. “There is not anything in Utah that allows an individual to cast another ballot.”

Of the more than 333,000 mail-in ballots sent out to voters in Salt Lake County, Swensen said voters have turned in about 140,000. And she’s expecting a much bigger turnout on Super Tuesday.

“A lot,” she said. “We’re expecting a huge number of ballots dropped tomorrow.”

But predicting how many will line up at polling locations to vote is much more difficult.

“This is like having a party at 34 locations, inviting 540,000 potential voters and not knowing where they’re going to show up,” she said.

No matter what the turnout has been so far, Swensen said it’s not too late to get in line and add your vote for the candidate you want to see walk away with Utah’s 29 delegates. In order to get any of them, a candidate must get 15% of the vote.

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Utah Prepares For Super Tuesday As Democratic Field Narrows