Image: Pete Linforth via Pixabay
By Sue Cote, Sanford City Clerk, and Zendelle Bouchard
The Presidential Primary election is Tuesday, March 5. This is the Election to vote for Democratic and Republican Presidential candidates to appear on the November General Election ballot. This is a ranked-choice election, meaning voters will be able to rank their preferences among the candidates.
This will be the first election held under the new ‘semi-open’ primary law, which means unenrolled voters (those who are not enrolled in any party, commonly referred to as independent) can now participate in primaries and are not required to enroll in the party they choose to vote for. They simply will indicate their choice for the party ballot they want to vote for and remain unenrolled. This can also be done for voters requesting an absentee ballot by checking the box for the party you want to receive a ballot for.
Thursday, Feb. 15, is the deadline to change your party affiliation or unenroll from your current party to be able to choose a different party on Election Day. In order to change, you need to have been enrolled in your current party for a minimum of three months. In other words, if you have made any party changes after Nov. 1 you are not eligible to make another change effective for the March 5 Primary.
Absentee voting in person is available now through Feb. 29. Stop by the City Clerk’s office Monday through Thursday from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. Feb. 29 is also the last day to request an absentee ballot online or by mail.
Voters will also be able to cast their ballots in person on Election Day. Although there has been a lot of discussion by city officials about consolidating polling places, no changes will be made before the Primary. The same three polling places that have been used for the past several years will be used this time.
Sample ballots for both Democrat and Republican Primaries may be viewed here.
Speaking of absentee ballots, starting Feb. 1 another new law goes into effect which gives voters who are at least 65 years old, or who have a disability, the opportunity to make an ongoing request for absentee ballots. An eligible voter would complete the application and automatically receive an absentee ballot for each statewide election and municipal election and any other (special) election for which they are eligible to vote. For example, if there were to be a vacancy in Legislative District 141 but the voter lives in District 143, they would not be eligible to get an absentee ballot for that. If there were a special election to fill a vacant seat on the City Council, they would be eligible for that.