Ballot Clutter: Why you need to look past all those delegate races on the primary ballot

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A huge chunk of the Super Tuesday's Alabama ballot belongs to delegate races.

We've had people call; we've had people email. What's the deal with all these delegates?

WHNT News 19 spoke with the Madison County chair of the Republican Executive Committee today.

His recommendation? Only vote for a delegate if you know that person by name and want to support him or her.

Those delegates don't have a lot of power. They just go to their party convention if their candidate wins.

WHNT News 19 Political Analyst Jess Brown certainly does not have much love for this year's primary ballot.

"What really makes it absurd," he argues, "is you of course cast your vote for president, the first thing on the ballot. That makes perfect sense. High profile office. Then the ballot is just absolutely cluttered with all of these different blocks."

Those blocks belong to delegates. Those delegates are pledged to individual candidates.

Now your vote for a presidential nominee decides how many delegates a candidate gets. If you vote in a delegate race, it just decides who would go the actual convention.

But here's why Brown says he's so fired up, "After you get to the back of the ballot on the right hand side, you actually start voting again for truly governmental offices. You have the United States Senate race back there. You have local judgeship races. People you're electing to governmental offices that with the stroke of a pen can control your life, liberty, and property."

Brown says he won't vote for any delegates at all, "I know some of them. I know some of those people personally, and I told them, 'I'm not voting for you. I'm not going to contribute to the ballot clutter.'"

In fact, WHNT News 19 has learned the delegate vote may not even follow party rules.

For example, the ballot asks you to only vote for delegates for the candidate you're supporting, but officials tell us the voting machines aren't sophisticated enough to throw out votes that don't follow that rule.

So, if you break the rules laid out on the ballot Madison County Republican Executive Committee Chair Sam Givhan says, "You can vote for delegates that do not match up with your preferred presidential candidate."

Of course, it's worth noting, this is a party rule that it's possible to break, not state election law.

Also, don't forget beyond all the delegates, Amendment One is on the ballot at the very end.