Voters should familiarize themselves with primary ballot

Published 7:03 pm Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chilton County voters should take the time before next week’s party primary elections to familiarize themselves with the ballots and voting guidelines, Probate Judge Bobby Martin said.

The Republican ballot could be especially confusing.

At the top will be the seven candidates for the Republican ticket to run for president. Martin stressed that simply marking beside a candidate’s name is not enough to help them win the nomination. Voters should also scan below the candidates’ names and vote for the particular delegates who have committed to vote for a candidate at the Republican convention.

“If you just vote for the presidential candidate, you aren’t doing anything,” Martin said. “You need to vote for that presidential candidate’s delegates. Those people are saying that they’re going to the convention to vote for that person.”

The number of delegates each candidate has present at the convention is the deciding factor for who earns the bid.

For example, someone wanting Ron Paul to win the Republican nomination should vote for Paul at the top of the ballot but then also vote for the delegates who are committed to representing Paul at the convention (“PAUL Delegates” appears above each set of two names).

If a voter wished they could vote for a combination of delegates committed to two or more presidential candidates.

The Democratic ballot is much more simple because President Barack Obama is running for re-election.

There are also no local offices on the Democratic ballot. On the Republican ballot, the local offices are listed on the back, so voters should be sure to turn their ballots over and make sure they haven’t missed anything.

Martin also stressed that residents are given seven votes in the races for Chilton County Commission and Board of Education.

If someone votes more than seven times, their ballot will be rejected by the machine that counts them. If someone undervotes, their ballot will be accepted, and they would have just failed to use all their possible votes.

Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13.

Upon entering a voting site, voters will be asked whether they want a Democratic or Republican ballot. They must choose one or the other.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, absentee voting was over, and it was also too late to register to vote in time for next week’s primaries.