OGDEN — Let the voting begin.
Ballots for Super Tuesday’s presidential primary balloting were sent out earlier this week and have started arriving in Weber County voters’ mailboxes. Primary Election Day is March 3, and Utah joins 13 other states across the country in voting in the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries.
No other contests are on the ballot. The regular primary in Utah, when voters pick the Republican and Democratic hopefuls for U.S. House, a mix of Utah Senate and Utah House seats and more, is June 30.
Ryan Cowley, head of the Weber County Election Office, suspects turnout will be higher than an off-presidential election year primary, perhaps 50%-60%. “Anytime you put the president in the race, that brings out a little more excitement and energy,” Cowley said. That said, the presidential primary date in Utah has varied the last three cycles dating to 2008, making it hard to predict.
On the Democratic side, the key contenders gauging by finishes in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary are Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar. Though President Donald Trump faces challengers on the Republican side, there’s little expectation any of them will upend the incumbent.
Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by March 2, though they may be left at drop boxes at libraries and municipal office buildings around the county. Early in-person voting will be held Feb. 26-28 and on March 2, culminating with Election Day balloting on March 3 at Union Station in Ogden. More voting details are at the Weber County Elections Office website, www.weberelections.com.
The primary process kicked off with the Feb. 3 Iowa caucus followed by the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11, according to a New York Times calendar of key dates in the presidential race. Nevada is scheduled to hold a Democratic presidential caucus on Feb. 22 while South Carolina holds a Democratic presidential primary on Feb. 29, preceding Super Tuesday voting. Aside from Utah, the other states with presidential primaries on March 3 are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia.
Sixteen candidates are listed on Utah’s Democratic presidential ballot, including Buttigieg, Sanders, Warren, Biden, Klobuchar and Mike Bloomberg. Several candidates who have dropped out of the race, including Julian Castro, Andrew Yang and Cory Booker, remain on the ballot as well.
Trump and six challengers are on the GOP ballot.
Noting narrow finishes among the Democratic hopefuls in Iowa and New Hampshire, Cowley suspects that race may motor the most excitement among voters here. In the Iowa Democratic caucus, Buttigieg garnered 26.2% support followed by Sanders, 26.1%; Warren, 18%; and Biden, 15.8%, according to the Associated Press. In the New Hampshire Democratic primary, Sanders garnered 25.7% of the vote followed by Buttigieg, 24.4%; Klobuchar, 19.8%; and Warren, 9.2%.
Presidential primary ballots for the respective parties were sent to registered Republicans and Democrats in Weber County and eligible unaffiliated voters who requested them. Unaffiliated voters and those belonging to other parties may still get Democratic ballots by contacting the Weber County Clerk-Auditor’s Office, according to the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office. You must belong to the Republican Party or join it to get a GOP ballot.
Utah officials timed the presidential primary here for Super Tuesday, hoping to make Utah a more influential state in the primary process, Cowley said. State funds are covering the cost presidential primary balloting.