Voters cast their ballots for the 2018 general election at the McClain County Election Board building in Purcell. Credit: Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Updated March 2, 2020

When they step into the voting booth for Super Tuesday, many Oklahoma voters might be surprised at how many choices they have in the presidential primary election. And how many choices they have that won’t count.

The state’s Democratic ballot lists 14 names. But nine of those dropped out of the race after the state’s deadline for getting names removed from the official ballot.

Republican voters can choose from a half dozen men. Only one of those has ended his campaign.

“We have gotten calls from people who did not think there was a Republican primary, but there is, and we have six candidates on the ballot,” said state Election Board spokeswoman Misha Mohr.

Joe Walsh, a radio talk host and former Illinois congressman, ended his presidential campaign Feb. 7. His name appears on the GOP ballot along with President Donald Trump, Illinois entrepreneur Bob Ely and Californians Matthew John Matern, an attorney; Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, a real estate developer, and Zoltan Istvan, a journalist and entrepreneur.

Presidential hopefuls who paid $5,000 and filed to run in Oklahoma had until Dec. 6 to remove their names from the ballot. That deadline allowed the Election Board time to lay out, proof and print ballots and deliver them to military and overseas voters 45 days in advance of the election, as required by law, Mohr said.

Five candidates on the Democratic ballot remain in the race: Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Tulsi Gabbard, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Democratic voters will also see the names of nine former candidates who have suspended their campaigns: Michael Bennet, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Tom Steyer, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang. Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Steyer ended their campaigns after early voting started on Thursday, and after Saturday’s South Carolina primary.

Mohr said the order of names on the ballots is rotated so that each name appears an equal number of times in each position. The lineup may be different for two voters standing next to each other in a precinct line.

Only registered Republicans may vote in the Republican primary. Democrats and independents can mark the Democratic ballot.

Registered Libertarians cannot vote in this presidential primary because their party has no candidates. But Libertarians will be able to vote on any local issue on their county’s ballot.

Polls statewide will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. 

Correction: An earlier version of the story incorrectly referred to six former candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination as Republicans.


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