How do YOU count?

Published 1:48 am Monday, January 28, 2008

By By Lisa Tindell -news editor
Super Tuesday. Super Duper Tuesday. Tsunami Tuesday. The Tuesday of Destiny - you can pick your favorite term for Tuesday, Feb. 5.
With 24 states - including Alabama - set to hold a caucus or primary that day, the day will boast the largest-ever number of states holding presidential primaries.
But how exactly is your vote counted that day?
When voters go to the polls, not only will they be casting a vote for a presidential-hopeful, votes will also be cast to choose delegates who'll make the final decision.
And with the races in both parties close this year, candidates are aiming not just to win states but to win the number of delegates needed to earn their party's nomination.
Each political party sets the rules for its primary, said Escambia County Republican delegate-hopeful Jim Corman. But whether you vote Democrat or Republican on Feb. 5, you will be choosing a presidential candidate and the delegates who will vote for them at the party conventions later this year.
The GOP side
In the Republican primary, voters will first vote for a candidate running for president, Corman said.
After voters cast votes for a candidate, a vote must then be cast for a delegate.
Each Congressional district has a certain number of Republican delegates to be elected, Corman said. There are also a certain number of at-large delegates for each state.
With 48 total Republican delegates for Alabama, 21 are chosen from congressional districts, with the remaining 27 chosen as at-large delegates.
Delegates assigned to candidates from across the United States will determine who will be nominated by a party to be placed on the November ballot for a chance at becoming president.
Likewise, Corman said, candidates who receive 20 percent of the vote would receive 20 percent of the delegated votes.
A sample ballot for the Feb. 5 primary shows candidates vying for president as well as those hoping to be named delegates.
The Democrats
On the Democratic side, candidates must earn at least 15 percent of the popular vote in order to win any delegates, said Jesse McDaniel, communications chairman for the Alabama Democratic party.
The Democratic ballot instructs voters to choose a candidate and then choose up to four male delegates and four female delegates who are pledged to that candidate.
Your candidate and delegate choices must match. If you vote for Barack Obama, for example, and then choose delegates for Hillary Clinton, your delegate votes will be invalid.
In Alabama, 34 Democratic delegates and seven alternates will be elected on Feb. 5. They will be pledged to certain candidates. Alabama also has several other delegates, broken down as follows:

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