Ballot set for primary

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, March 7, 2012

This week’s Super Tuesday voting that wrapped up primaries in ten states may have given a clearer indication as to who will win the Republican nomination for president, but the race is not won yet and March 13 Alabamians will get their chance to weigh in at the polls.

Along with the choice of seven candidates for the Republican nomination, voters will also have a chance to pick delegates who will eventually attend the Republican National Convention and cast their votes for the nomination.

Circuit Clerk Ken Taylor said the process is clearly mapped out on the ballots themselves but said the biggest decision for voters should be the presidential candidates.

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“The most important thing about Tuesday’s primary is to select a presidential candidate,” Taylor said. “”Once they have made that choice, they will have a choice of selecting delegates for that candidate. The selection of delegates will determine who goes to the convention.”
As is printed on the sample ballot, after choosing a presidential candidate each voter will need to find the corresponding list of delegates for the candidate they selected, choosing just one delegate from each “place.”

Taylor said the most important part of the process is making sure voters choose from the delegates that match the presidential candidate they voted for.

“In the ballot instructions, voting for delegates for candidates other than the voters’ choice for president is not allowed,” Taylor said. “Let’s say someone votes for Ron Paul for president, but votes for delegates representing Romney. They shouldn’t do that and it isn’t allowed.”

Taylor said mistakes will most likely be made at the polls but added ballots will not be discarded if the wrong delegates are chosen in order to get an accurate vote for the main seven candidates.

“It won’t kick out their ballot,” he said. “The main idea is to vote for a candidate for the
presidential nomination.”

The chance for voting errors in Escambia County may even be less than in the past as Taylor said he expects voter turnout to be lower than average.

“Based on the number of absentee ballots we’ve received, I expect the turnout to be very low,” he said. “Normally, by this time we would have had 300 to 400 absentee ballots returned. Since we have no local candidate in this election, it has been slow.”

Taylor said this year’s turnout in stark contrast to what was seen in the county in 2008.

“In the first presidential election, which had an unusually high turnout. We had 800 absentee ballots by this time. Right now, we have had less than 100 to vote absentee and we’re less than two days away from the deadline.”

Democrats will only vote for President Barack Obama and delegates to the Democratic convention.

In addition to presidential candidates and delegates, Republicans will vote for candidates in the first Congressional district; state

Supreme Court chief justice; associate justice, place 1; Public Service Commission president; and state board of education, District 1.
Sample ballots for both parties are on page 10 of today’s Atmore Advance.