By Tzar Wilkerson
North Carolina voters will have lots of candidates to choose from in the upcoming Democratic primary, but only half of the Democratic presidential candidates listed on the ballot are still in the race. Alongside major contenders like Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders, the ballot lists Andrew Yang (who dropped out this past Tuesday), Patrick Deval (who dropped out Wednesday), and other former candidates that are no longer in the running.
Although some of the candidates on the ballot have already ended their campaigns, many are still in the race. The eight remaining Democratic candidates (of the sixteen listed on the ballot) are: Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, and Elizabeth Warren.
Across the aisle, the Republican primaries have fewer contenders for the nomination. Donald Trump and Bill Weld are still campaigning, while Joe Walsh (who dropped out last Friday) remains on the ballot as well.
Matthew Snyder of the Watauga Board of Elections explained the excess of names on the ballot. “There’s a deadline to withdraw your name from the contest, and once that deadline is past, those are the names that are placed on the ballot. I believe it was the 17th of December for this election. Everybody was full of hope and good feelings back then, thinking that they were the one!”
According to North Carolina’s semi-closed primary laws, unaffiliated voters can cast their ballots in any party. Early voting began yesterday, so this is the ideal time to cast your vote!
Snyder elaborated on the advantages of early voting. “The Watauga Board of Elections definitely encourages people to come out and vote early! The weather is good now, but we don’t know if we’re gonna have snow – especially on election day – so we highly encourage everyone to take advantage of the seven one-stop polls we have around the county while the weather is still good. For folks who aren’t registered, they are able to do same-day registration with proof of residence within the county and vote during the one-stop period, through February 29th.”