Early voters participating in Super Tuesday contests whose votes will no longer matter want another chance to have their voices heard.
The landscape of the Super Tuesday Democratic presidential primaries shifted dramatically on the eve of the contests when Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg dropped out this week and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden.
Disappointed voters who cast their ballots early or by mail for candidates no longer in the race now want another chance to play a role in the contests.
In Utah, Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen said her county has received “hundreds” of calls from voters who want to re-cast their ballots now that support for Buttigieg or Klobuchar has lost its meaning. About 140,000 early ballots had been returned by Monday, according to the county clerk’s office.
“I mean it’s just sad because so many calls, so many emails — ‘can I have another chance to vote again?’” Swensen said, according to Fox News.
“When Pete Buttigieg dropped out we had a lot of voters who wanted to know if they could vote over, and later on Amy Klobuchar dropped out,” Swensen added. “But we were already answering phone calls, emails from voters who wanted to know because they had submitted their vote by mail ballot or voted early if they could have a chance to vote over.”
The answer was no.
Matthew Patterson, executive director of the Utah Democratic Party, called the situation, “kind of disappointing,” but also “how politics goes.”
“That’s how these races go. I know a lot of people have held off for voting for that very reason,” he said.
Utah is not alone. In Colorado, where by Monday 1.2 million early ballots were returned, officials were trying to stay on top of concerns from early ballot voters.
“We’ve definitely gotten a fair amount of calls and emails,” said Steve Hurlbert, assistant communications director for the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. “We’ve been really trying to be proactive and we’ve tried to utilize our social media channels to kind of head off some of those phone calls and emails.”
Hurlbert noted that Colorado ballots were sent out on Feb. 10 and if candidates did not withdraw by the Jan. 3 deadline, their names made it on the ballot. Seventeen democrats were listed on the ballot, according to the Colorado Secretary of State‘s office.
“So there is a lengthy list of people who have subsequently pulled out of the race and once ballots went out it was just about educating people,” Hurlbert said.
Texas voter Justin Sunseri, who voted for Buttigieg, was irked over the developments, according to the Texas Tribune.
“We need ranked-choice voting so I don’t throw my vote in the trash again,” said Sunseri. Under that model, if a voter’s first-choice candidate has dropped out, the vote goes to the voter’s second choice, and so on.
Sunseri said his voting behavior will now change.
“Maybe if I’m planning to vote for the front-runner I can do so ahead of time,” Sunseri said, adding that if he supports anyone else, “I’ll wait until election day.”
Voters from Klobuchar’s home state also voted early, with about 57,000 ballots received by Monday, Minnesota Public Radio reported. If votes mirror recent polling, over 16,500 early voters could have voted for Klobuchar, and 1,700 for Buttigieg.
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