Candidates seek to be super Tuesday

Published 2:40 am Monday, February 4, 2008

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
Fewer than 100 absentee ballots had been cast as of Thursday - the deadline - but Circuit Clerk Ken Taylor expects a lot of interest from Escambia County voters for Tuesday's presidential primary.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the Democratic and Republican primaries.
Alabama will share the spotlight with 23 other states in a Super Tuesday primary that's been dubbed “Tsunami Tuesday” in some circles. The high number of races puts the most delegate votes up for grabs in one day.
Usually by the time Alabama voters choose primary candidates for both parties, the frontrunner who will win the nomination has already emerged.
But Alabama and many other states moved up their primaries in hopes of gaining more attention this year.
Republican Mike Huckabee and Democrat Barack Obama have visited Alabama in the past week, and Huckabee returned Saturday. Republican John McCain held a rally in Birmingham Saturday, while former President Bill Clinton stumped for his wife Hillary Clinton in Huntsville.
Ballots include several candidates for each party, although some have dropped out of the race since ballots were printed. Democrats John Edwards, Joe Biden, Christopher Dodd and Bill Richardson are no longer running. Republicans Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter have also dropped out.
Polls show McCain and Huckabee in the lead in Alabama, while Obama and Clinton are running a close race on the Democratic side.
Voters who go to the polls Tuesday can choose not just a candidate but delegates to support that candidate at the party conventions later this year. Alabama does not require voters to register their party preference, so anyone registered to vote can vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary.
Voters in the Democratic primary can choose up to four female delegates and up to four male delegates who are pledged to the candidate they vote for. Votes for delegates not tied to your candidate will not count. Delegates are chosen based on congressional districts.
Likewise, Republican primary voters must choose delegates who match their candidate choice. Delegates are allocated based on at-large places and congressional districts, and gender does not factor into the voting.
Anyone with questions about where to vote or the process can call the Escambia County probate judge's office at 867-0301.
The state attorney general's office is offering an election hotline this week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The toll-free hotline will be available to assist citizens and election officials with any allegations of wrongdoing or legal inquiries.
Because Tuesday is also Mardi Gras, special provisions were made in Mobile and Baldwin counties for those residents to vote early this year. Limited polling places will be open on Tuesday in Mobile because of Mardi Gras parades.
Tuesday is the first of several election days in Alabama in 2008, with county and state primaries set for June and municipal elections in November.