Know before you go: Who's still standing in the presidential primaries?

Posted February 13, 2020 11:55 a.m. EST
Updated March 2, 2020 1:55 p.m. EST

— Early voting in the 2020 primary started Thursday in North Carolina. Whether you're voting Democratic or Republican, you'll see at least one name on the presidential ballot who's no longer actually in the race.

Who's still in the Democratic race?

The State Board of Elections finalized the list of candidates appearing on the 2020 primary ballot in December. For Democrats, the ballot includes 15 names. But since then, more than half of them have ended their campaigns, so a vote for them is a wasted vote.

Here are the 15 candidates in the order they appear on North Carolina's ballot:

  • Deval Patrick (dropped out Feb. 12)
  • Bernie Sanders
  • Tom Steyer (dropped out Feb. 29)
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Marianne Williamson (dropped out Jan. 10)
  • Andrew Yang (dropped out Feb. 11)
  • Michael Bennet (dropped out Feb. 11)
  • Joe Biden
  • Mike Bloomberg
  • Cory Booker (dropped out Jan. 13)
  • Pete Buttigieg (dropped out March 1)
  • Julian Castro (dropped out Jan. 2)
  • John Delaney (dropped out Jan. 31)
  • Tulsi Gabbard
  • Amy Klobuchar (dropped out March 2)

Who's still in the Republican race?

Voters choosing a Republican ballot will see three names for president, but only two are still in the race.

  • Donald Trump
  • Joe Walsh (dropped out Feb. 7)
  • Bill Weld

Too soon?

Conventional wisdom among political pundits says a strong showing in the first few days of early voting is a sign of a party's voter enthusiasm. But in 2020, people planning to vote a Democratic ballot might not want to go too soon.

As of Thursday, only two states have completed a primary or caucus: Iowa, where no winner was declared because of irregularities in counting the caucus votes, and New Hampshire, where Sanders and Buttigieg were a close first and second.

Nevada will be the third state in the primary contest, but its caucuses won't be held until Feb. 22.

South Carolina's primary won't be until Feb. 29, which is the final day of early voting in North Carolina. So, voters here won't know the state of the Democratic race after the first four contests until after early voting has ended.

On the other hand...

State elections officials are still encouraging voters to use early voting. Despite the mild winter so far, there's still a risk of wintry weather in early March. If voters wait until Election Day, an ice storm or flooding could make it hard to get to the polls, and the lines could be longer than usual as well.

People who haven't registered to vote yet can register and cast ballots at the same time during early voting, but they cannot vote on Election Day because the registration deadline has passed. It's also too late for people to change their registration to a different party, although they can update their name and address on their registration during early voting.

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