By Daniel Johnson, Sports Editor
Texans will have their chance to influence who will become the Democratic and Republican nominees for the 2008 presidential election Tuesday at the joint Texas Primaries.
Polls will open across the county for both races at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Polling locations are based on the address that a voter registered. Early voting began Feb. 19 and ends Friday. The closest early voting location to ACU is at the EN 10th United Supermarket down the street from campus.
At press time, 6,765 of the 76,007 registered voters in Taylor County had early voted, with 3,286 votes cast in the Democratic primary and 3,479 votes cast in the Republican primary, said
Kristy Allen, Taylor County elections administrator. Allen said that the early voting numbers for the Democratic primary are much larger than in past years and speculates it is because the Democratic race is so close.
“We’re seeing a different trend in Taylor County this election,” Allen said. She added that in years past about 3,000 people total have voted in the Democratic primary.
Sen. Barack Obama leads with 1,303 delegates before the Texas and Ohio primaries, and Sen. Hillary Clinton follows close behind won 1,212. Clinton or Obama need to win 2,025 delegates to win the nomination.
In the Democratic primary, Texas allocates 127 delegates based on proportional representation. Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont will also hold their primaries on Tuesday, and many pundits speculate that a Democratic frontrunner will be decided after the results are counted.
On the Republican side, Arizona Sen. John McCain has all but wrapped up the nomination after already winning 845 delegates of the 1,191 needed to secure the nomination. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has remained in the race, despite a mathematical impossibility to win the nomination and is on the Republican ballot.
With McCain the certain nominee, Neal Coates, associate professor of political science, said some voters who may have voted in the Republican primary in the past might cross the isle to influence the Democratic race.
“If people are going to vote in the Republican primary, they’re going to be voting for the Sheriff’s race and the County Commissioners’ race,” Coates said. “They are not that interested in the national race.”
Texas voters can decide at their polling places which primary to vote in.
Polls close at 7 p.m. or when the last vote is cast, and there will be a precinct convention at 7:15 p.m. At those conventions, voters can elect a precinct captain who will represent their respective precincts at the county convention.
Voters can find their polling places through the Taylor County Elections Office at www.taylorcountytexas.orgelection1.html.