The Democratic presidential race has shifted in the days after South Carolina’s primary, as Tom Steyer, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar dropped out in quick succession. But the departures so close to Super Tuesday create a complication: The candidates’ names are still on the ballot, and many early voters have already cast meaningless votes for them.
California, for example, has 415 delegates on the line on Tuesday. It has also successfully encouraged people to vote by absentee ballot. In the 2018 primary election, 67 percent of all votes were cast outside of an in-person polling place, according to the Los Angeles Times. This year, officials have already received 20 percent of the mailed-out ballots, which is likely a hefty portion of the state’s votes. A number of those will be for Steyer, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar—as well as Andrew Yang, who dropped out after early voting began.
In most states, no. In some states, if you can beat your own absentee ballot to the polling place, you might be OK. Michigan, which votes next week, specifically allows you to come in and “spoil” your ballot, negating the earlier and requesting a new one. Minnesota allowed people to switch votes, but the deadline for that passed last week, before Buttigieg and Klobuchar had announced their decisions.
According to the Times, voters should be careful: If Californians cast a ballot at their polling place in hopes it will counteract their first ballot, they run the risk of violating state election law.