Primary vote counting underway

A Cache County resident deposits her mail-in ballot during Utah Primary voting on Tuesday, Mar. 3.

LOGAN – The preliminary results of local balloting in the Utah Primary earlier this week indicate that nearly 27 percent of Cache County’s registered voters turned out for that event.

While Cache County fell short of Utah’s record-breaking turnout of 32% of registered voters, the local outcome of primary voting mirrored statewide results in terms of the ultimate victors. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont carried the day in the Democratic Primary, earning about 34% of ballots cast in both Cache County and statewide. Predictably, President Donald Trump captured the lion’s share of ballots in the Republican Primary, with 88% of votes cast in both Cache County and statewide.

Randy Guss of the Cache County Clerk’s Office emphasized, however, that “all primary voting totals are preliminary at this point.”

Guss explained that county officials are counting three different categories of ballots to obtain the final results that will be officially canvassed by Cache County on Mar. 17.

The first of those categories is ballots received via mail or through early voting prior to Mar. 3. Those ballots totaled 9,011 and they had been counted by Mar. 4. Another approximately 3,000 mail-in ballots were dropped off at the county polling place on Mar. 3 and those ballots were counted on Mar. 5. The final category is about 3,000 provisional ballots that were cast by walk-in voters at the county polling place on Mar. 3.

“Counting those provisional ballots is a slow process,” Guss explained, “because the residency and voting status of each one of voters has to be verified. That process probably won’t be fully completed until the canvass on March 17.”

Only registered Republicans were eligible to vote in the GOP Primary. The Democrats, on the other hand, held an open primary in which any registered voter could participate.

As of Mar. 5, nearly 80 percent of the 12,225 Cache County ballots which had already been counted were cast in the Republican Primary.

Although he is now considered to be the Democratic front-runner, former Vice-President Joe Biden received only 12.5 percent of primary ballots cast in Cache County, compared to 17.4 percent statewide.

Due to intense volatility in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination and early voting options, almost half of all ballots cast in the Democratic Primary went to candidates who are no longer in the running.

More than 11 percent of Cache County ballots went to former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and another 6.5 percent went to Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Both of these candidates had dropped out of the race to endorse Biden prior to the Utah Primary.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts earned nearly 20 percent of the Democratic votes cast in Cache County, compared to nearly 14 percent of votes going to former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Warren and Bloomberg dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination following Biden’s near-sweep of Super Tuesday primary contests on Mar. 3.

Guss said final totals for the local balloting will be available Mar. 17.

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