Unraveling the lengthy Republican ballot at the polls; what you need to know

Unraveling the lengthy Republican ballot at the polls; what you need to know

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The more than 3,600 Shelby County voters who cast their vote early in the Republican polls may have been a little bit surprised when they were faced a very lengthy ballot. In some counties, it could be up to 10 pages throughout the state.

Out of the more than 7,000 voters who have taken advantage of early voting in Shelby County, half voted in the Republican primary.

Secretary of State Tre Hargett said he believes the early voting numbers are a reflection of Tennessee's position in Super Tuesday.

"So far more than 7,600 people in Shelby County are part of the 113,000 Tennesseans statewide choosing to cast their votes early. There have been few election cycles in recent memory that have gotten this much attention. That's likely because of Tennessee's prominence as six other Southern states join us to decide who could be the next president of the United States."

Those who voted in the Republican primary faced more than the decision of who to pull the lever for in the presidential race.

In addition to having to sift through the names of those such as Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, George Pataki and several others who have dropped out of the race, they had to go through hundreds of names for presidential delegates.

That's because the Tennessee Republican Party's process of choosing and assigning presidential delegates is part of the voting process.

Each primary voter is allowed to choose their choice for president, 14 at-large delegates, as well as three delegates from their home congressional districts to represent them at the Republican convention.

The delegate portion of the primary includes 428 total delegate candidates from across Tennessee. As a result, that causes the Republican primary ballot in Tennessee to be approximately 10 pages long for some voters.  There are 148 overall at-large candidates.

In the end, Tennessee will send a total of 58 Republican delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, in July to represent the state party. The breakdown of those delegates will end up looking like this:

  • 27 congressional delegates (3 from each district)
  • 14 elected at-large delegates
  • 14 appointed at-large delegates (appointed by the Tennessee Republican Party's executive committee)
  • 3 additional delegates (chosen by the Republican National Committee)

Early voting started February 10 and will end on Tuesday, February 23. Election day for the primaries will have voters hitting the polls on Super Tuesday, March 1.

Copyright 2016 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.