As the Missouri presidential preference primary approaches on March 10, Franklin County voters will have 33 candidates from which to nominate for president.
According to sample ballots provided by the county clerk’s office, Democrats lead with 22 individual candidates; Republicans have five; Green Party, three; Constitution Party, two; and there is one Libertarian Party candidate.
Absentee voting opened in Franklin County last week and County Clerk Tim Baker, chief election officer, said 800 absentee requests were mailed out and thus far 12 people have voted.
In 2016, a total of 29,128 ballots were cast in the presidential preference primary, representing 42 percent of the 69,233 registered voters four years ago.
Republican candidates collected 70.1 percent of the electorate. Democrats garnered 29.67 percent and the Libertarian and Constitution parties combined received 0.23 percent with 66 total votes.
In addition to the well-known and lesser-known names running for the Democratic nomination, there are several candidates most voters may have never heard of, some who have already dropped out of the race and others who were not on primary ballots in other states.
In all, there are 22 candidates on the Missouri ballot, including Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer, Tulsi Gabbard, Leonard Steinman, Cory Booker, Joseph Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Velma Steinman, Henry Hewes, Andrew Yang, Roque De La Fuente, John Delaney, Julian Castro, Deval Patrick, Marianne Williamson, Michael Bennet, Michael Bloomberg, Steve Burke, Robby Wells and William Haas.
In 2016, there were nine Democratic candidates with Bernie Sanders winning the primary that year in Franklin County.
Of the total 8,643 Democratic ballots cast in the presidential preference, Sanders garnered 4,785 votes and Hillary Clinton had 3,704.
All of the other seven candidates combined collected only 51 votes and there were 96 uncommitted voters, who intend to vote for a Democrat but have not yet settled on one particular candidate.
There were an additional seven Democratic ballots in which the voter either voted for two candidates, an overvote, or cast a blank ballot, an undervote.
There are five men on the Republican primary ballot in Franklin County in 2020, including Donald Trump, Bob Ely, Bill Weld, Joe Walsh, and Matthew John Matern.
In 2016 the Republican field was much more crowded with nine candidates, most of whom were well-known politicians, including four former governors, and four current or former senators.
There were a total of 20,419 Republican ballots cast and Trump took 44 percent, or 9.082. His closest rival was Texas Sen. Ted Cruz with 8,120 votes. Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich collected 1,561 votes and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio received 1,150.
The other candidates, including Govs. Chris Christi, Jeb Bush, and Mike Huckabee, along with Sens. Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum collected only 426 votes combined.
There were 76 uncommitted ballots cast, two undervotes and two overvotes.
Jacob Hornberger is the lone Libertarian Party candidate on the 2020 ballots compared to a field of five in 2016.
There were 45 total votes cast for Libertarian candidates that year and 40 percent (18 votes) were uncommitted.
Austin Peterson led with 11 votes and was the only candidate to break double digits. The remaining four candidates collected 16 total votes combined.
The Green Party has three candidates on the March 10 primary ballot, including Howie Hawkins, Dario Hunter, and David Rolde.
In 2016, there were no Green Party candidates on Franklin County ballots.
Don Grundmann and Don Blankenship are running for president as Constitution Party candidates in 2020.
There were no Constitution Party candidates on the 2016 ballot but 18 undetermined ballots were cast for the party.