The field for the Democratic presidential primary is starting to winnow.
Three candidates — Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and entrepreneur Andrew Yang — suspended their campaigns following Tuesday’s primary in New Hampshire. With contests in Nevada and South Carolina on the horizon, more changes to the field could come before Minnesotans head to the polls on March 3.
But with weeks to go until Super Tuesday, more than 14,500 Minnesota residents have already cast ballots in the Democratic primary, via early absentee voting.
So what happens if you voted early and picked a candidate no longer in the race? Or if you change your mind as the race evolves? Can you get a redo on your vote?
The answer, according to state election officials, is yes. Minnesota state law allows voters to pull back their absentee ballots until close of business on Feb. 25, a week before Election Day itself.
“One little-known, rarely used option for folks is that people who have already cast their absentee ballots can request from their county’s auditor or clerk that their ballot be ‘spoiled,’ and cast a new one, “ said Risikat Adesaogun, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Steve Simon.
And if you do cast a ballot for a now-withdrawn candidate and don’t take it back? Adesaogun said the Secretary of State’s office will count and report “all the votes they get — even votes for candidates who drop out” on Election Day.
“From there, it’s up to the parties to determine how to treat those votes,” she said.
Republican voters are less likely to struggle with the problem: President Donald Trump’s name is the only one listed on the GOP primary ballot here. But early voters who do change their minds can use the same mechanism to take their ballots back.
Torey Van Oot • 651-925-5049